The ESSENCE Fest Woke Woman honorees believe in the resilience of Black folk during difficult times.
 

Paula Rogo
Jul, 03, 2017

Hope can sometimes appear fleeting in these social and political times. 
 
But for director Ava DuVernay and Black Lives Matter co-founder and activist Patrisse Cullors, the Black community is a constant reminder that hope does exist and will continue to exist. Both women emphasized Black resilience when they were recognized as ESSENCE Fest’s Woke Women honorees on Saturday.
 
“What gives me hope, it’s us,” said Duvernay to the crowd of Black people.
 
When editing 13th, her Oscar nominated documentary about mass incarceration, DuVernay changed the ending of the film because it allowed the viewer to avoid taking accountability in bringing change. Instead, she wanted to show that the stakes were high by including images of Black joy “to just talk about the resilience of us.”
 
“Because that’s really the thing that’s going to get us through any scourge — mass incarceration, Trump whatever it maybe,” she said. “Our unity and our survival emanates from [...]fighting for each other, our joy, our life.”
 
Cullors had similar sentiments, saying that watching Black people in their element fulfilled her: “There’s something about watching us be in our joy that gives me hope.”
 
What gives you hope in today’s world?