Ava DuVernay is all about execution. After more than five years of diversity panels and awareness raising, DuVernay is ready to turn the page and promote solutions to the age old problem. Unfortunately, to date, there doesn’t really seem to be an industry wide move towards fixing the lack of diversity behind the screen.
So if there is no industry push for change, how can diverse groups look to create opportunities? For DuVernay, it starts with you. According to DuVernay, “I took a page from Spike Lee’s book: to be diverse categorically — documentary, narrative, commercials — so if they don’t like my movies anymore, I’ll go make docs, or TV or commercials. Or distribute films that other people make. Or I’ll write. You can’t hit a moving target. It’s a really specific strategy. I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket.”
While African Americans along with women seem to be making strides in entertainment, Latino, Asian, Muslim, and Native American voices seem to struggle to be heard.
DuVernay recounted an interesting conversation with controversial author of “Donald Trump is the First White President”, Ta-Nehisi Coates, “in which they discussed the “black, red and green phases” every person educated about African-American history goes through in their creative process to explain: “When you first read everything the first time and everything is black — if it ain’t black, it ain’t right. Then the red phase: you get deeper into it and realize you’re dealing with systems that are generations old, and you’re angry. Then the green phase: you become at peace but you stay on the edge. You embrace a future, you stay healthy so you can grow.”
The diversity in film and TV is still hard to come by but with recent sexual harassment allegations, now is the time for change.