4 Times in 2015 Ava DuVernay Proved She is a Magical Black Girl From The Future
With women like Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Janelle Monae, and Kerry Washington taking over movies, sports, television, and more this year, it is clear that 2015 was the year of the Black woman. No one else embodies this truth like the incomparable Ava DuVernay.
1. The new Apple Music commercials Duvernay directed put blackness front and center.
I was actually shocked to see Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige, and Taraji P. Henson dancing around a beautiful mansion and turning up to tunes at this year’s Emmy’s. Seeing the singer and actresses portrayed at peak blackness during a show that boasted awards for Regina King (“American Crime”), Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”), and Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”) was enough for me. But, finding out that Ava DuVernay directed the spots is what convinced me this woman is actually made of gold sparkles and magic.
The effortless looking commercials showcased Black girl love like no other. It was epic.
2. DuVernay turned down Marvel (and that Marvel paycheck) for Black Panther.
DuVernay has always maintained an effort to stay true to herself. She intentionally chooses projects that best serve her career and represent the stories she wants to tell rather than pursuing works just for the money. As rumors were swarming about her directing Black Panther, featuring Chadwick Boseman from 42 (2013) and Get on Up (2014), DuVernay took a moment to give her official answer on the matter.
She told Essence:
“In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later … I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.”
Even when turning down one of the biggest studios in modern film, DuVernay shows grace and class central to Black girl magic.
3. JJ Abrams wants her to direct a Star Wars movie.
Let’s be honest: Hollywood really isn’t checking for blackness. With their perpetual invisibilizing of Black characters and writing every other ethnic group out of scripts left and right, they have so much work to do in order to start producing diverse stories. In a recent interview, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams said that he sees diversity as not only something that happens in front of the camera but behind it. Citing her absolutely stunning work with Selma (2014), Abrams called out DuVernay as a logical choice for directing the next Star Wars film.
This gave me a nerdgasm.
4. Mattel made a Ava Barbie that sold out immediately.
As if DuVernay wasn’t already dope enough, she teamed up with Mattel to create a director Ava Barbie doll equipped with all the magical Black girl ingredients including DuVernay’s signature locs. The doll sold out in minutes (and I didn’t even get one). The demand for the dolls runs counter to all the narratives we see and hear about Black women’s beauty somehow being less appealing or widely acceptable than others. Through this partnership, DuVernay is contributing to the representation of Black women in industries which have been predominantly euro-centric for far too long.
Overall, DuVernay is not just breaking barriers and making space for other Black women in the process. She is also exercising her right to be a dope ass magical Black girl regardless of socio-political climate or career expectations from society. I’m here for all of that and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Photo credit: Ava DuVernay, photographed by Graeme Mitchell. Styling by Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDanold. Hair by Felicia Leatherwood. Makeup by Starlynn Burden. Photo: Graeme Mitchell
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