#BlackGirlMagic is full effect everywhere we look, and the newest cover of The Hollywood Reporter is no different. Oscar-nominee Ava DuVernay and her Queen Sugar and A Wrinkle In Time partner in crime Oprah Winfrey are the issue’s most recent cover girls.
Two two open up about how they hate using the word “diversity,” their upcoming collaborations and why infusing Black Lives Matter themes into their work is so important.
“I used to use the word ‘diversity’ all the time. ‘We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters … Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I’ve learned from [Ava] that the word that most articulates what we’re looking for is what we want to be: included,” Winfrey stressed. She added, “It’s to have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made.”
DuVernay co-signed on Winfrey’s comments saying, “We aren’t sitting around talking about diversity. Just like we aren’t sitting around talking about being black or being women. We’re just being that.”
On what new Black stories they are excited to see on the small screen:
“I’m interested in seeing Issa Rae’s work [on HBO’s Insecure], Donald Glover’s work [on FX’s Atlanta], Justin Simien’s upcoming piece [a series adaptation of his film, Dear White People, for Netflix], Cheo Coker’s Luke Cage [on Netflix],” DuVernary said.
On the Black Lives Matter Movement influencing storylines on Queen Sugar:
“You see integration of Black Lives Matter from the beginning of [Queen Sugar] because it is literally black lives having meaning and mattering in the everyday. With the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of the focus is on the protest and dissent. I’m hoping to dismantle the public notion — for folks outside of the community — of what Black Lives Matter means. It’s really about saying that black lives matter, that humanity is the same when you go inside people’s homes,” the Selma director said.
Oprah on why being a series regular on Greenleaf or Queen Sugar is not in her future:
“Nuh-uh! There’s not room, nor time. I think my role on Greenleaf is going to be it for me for a while. I’m working on Henrietta Lacks [at HBO] and other things coming up. It’s funny, because Gayle [King] saw the first episode of Sugar, and she goes, ‘How come you didn’t play Aunt Vi?’ Originally, I was going to. Then Greenleaf got done first,” the talk show icon said.
DuVernary on her concerns of doors still being closed off to her:
“No, no one’s going to stop me from doing what I want to do; I just have to figure out a way to do it that might not be the easy route that my counterparts who don’t look like me and identify as I do have. They have a bit of an easier time of it, an easier road, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it. It may just take me a bit. Part of the challenge that I find when I enter these conversations with journalists is that [you’ve] thought about it in a way that society thinks about it: ‘the plight of the woman filmmaker,’ ‘the plight of the black artist,’ ‘the plight of whoever is on the outside.’ But if you receive it and treat it as a plight, that starts to manifest in you and your work, and it affects your creativity,” she said.
On whether or not Black stories can accurately be told by people who aren’t African-American:
“Artists should be free to create what we want. I believe there’s a special value in work that is a reflection of oneself as opposed to interpretation. When I see a film or a TV show about black people not written by someone who’s black, it’s an interpretation of that life,” DuVernay said.
“I think it depends upon your level of experience,”says Winfrey.
Peep the trailer for Queen Sugar, which debuts on OWN in September:
Looks damn good! BEAUTIES, will you be watching?