Ava DuVernay's Black Women in Hollywood Speech

DuVernay speaks on why the pre-Oscars event gives Black women in Hollywood a sense of validation.

ESSENCE.COM Jul, 01, 2014
Hide Transcript
[MUSIC] So this gathering is my favorite of the year. I've been fortunate to attend since the beginning. At that time, I wasn't a director, I was a publicist. Shout out to the publicists! Out to the publicists! Talk about people who never get love. And I like to see Vince so much because when I'm here, my mind shuts out the outside noise. I don't think about the negatives of this industry that we're in. I don't think about the disappointment or the rejection. Or the dismissals or the under estimation. I think very simply about us in all our limitless complexity. And the Ntozake Shange line really serve us, serves me well in this thought, which is where there is a woman there is magic. She can share or she not share her powers. Period, whatever she wants to do basically. The, the goal of that. So many years I read Essence in awe of the mighty women in it's pages jotting down names in my journal. Tips, folding down the page, I wanna get back to that, never get back to it, but let me get back. Cutting out pictures, tearing out pictures of a career woman who was an inspiration thinking, wow she's someone I wanna be like one day. And it struck me my sisters, when I read this month's Essence, and I saw that list. And I read so many of your names. And I personally knew almost every single woman on that list in some way. So many sisters I've crossed paths with, or worked with, or who's lifted me up. I realized, someone is cutting out our pictures. And this is our time. And I ask the question, what will we do with it? Because where there is a woman, there is magic, and she can share or not share her powers. I think the key for us in the sharing, in the interconnectedness that vibrates through this room, every year, and how we take that to the next level for each other and for the woman who aren't in this room. I'll end with some lines from sister poet, Lucille, Lucille Clifton, that I read often during times of disappointments, and rejections, and dismissals, and underestimation. And I hope that you'll join me in the celebration she evokes, and that we're in the midst of right now, she wrote. Won't you celebrate with me. What I've shaped into a kind of life. Born in Babylon, both non-white and woman. What did I see to be except myself? Here on this bridge between star shine and clay, my one hand holding tight only to my other hand. Come celebrate with me, that everyday, something has tried to kill me, and has failed. [NOISE] Thank you my sisters.