Melina Matsoukas has the decorated career that any aspiring director dreams of. That’s why it’s such an honor to witness her receiving her flowers.

Matsoukas was one of the accomplished women honored at the 2020 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards, and her speech highlighted the women she considers part of her tribe.

The Queen & Slim director began by tipping her hat to fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay for inspiring a recent epiphany. “Recently I’ve been battling my own rage,” Matsoukas explains. “As I keep saying, the daily onslaught of white supremacy and colonization is infuriating and also exhausting. I shared my sentiments with Ms. DuVernay the other night and what she said hit deep. It was simply, ‘don’t let them steal your joy.’ Since then, I’ve been thinking about how to reclaim my own joy.”

Matsoukas also thanked Beyoncé for her first big break. “My true first foray into directing was fifteen years ago with my sister Beyoncé who genuinely started my career. She taught me how to work, how to dream, how to achieve, and most importantly as an artist, how to control your own narrative. She took a chance on me when no one else would, and entrusted me with her own art. From ‘Upgrade U’ to ‘Formation’ we grew up together. She taught me not only how to be a revolutionary, but how to be the revolution. Without her, I’m not the same filmmaker today.”

Listen to Matsoukas’s tributes to Lena Waithe, Issa Rae her mother and more in the clip below.

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