Aspen Ideas Festival held their annual event filled with conversations revolving around the country’s most important ideas and issues within medicine and health. The festival’s opening segment entitled Spotlight Health, featured a number of individuals including Ava DuVernay.  DuVernay spoke on the panel alongside Ai-jen Poo about the structural issues women and disenfranchised communities face when trying to heal from and deal with trauma in our communities.

During the discussion, DuVernay touched on how images within media can be used as weapons. She referenced her award winning documentary 13th pointing out her experiences with creating projects around systemic racism.

She shared that shared that her goal is to make her films as close to the actual experience as possible, and although it seems like it’s if would be natural for all filmmakers to do the same thing, it isn’t as common as one would think.

“The imagery that we’re consuming is just what a lot of people think, opposed to what it really is and that can be dangerous and unhealthy when you’re dealing with images of people who are underrepresented because those images become what it is. The norm,”  DuVernay said.

DuVernay also added the fact that writers and directors were sent Immigrant Media Resource guides to make sure the correct terminology is used.  “These guides are important because once an incorrect term is consumed by the masses through media, it is often times perceived as truth.”  She finishes her point stating, “It’s really important to try to bridge the gap between what people think and what it is actually reality.  Those are the building blocks that we work with, and I’m specifically very serious and emotional about them….That’s how imagery can damage us but really save us when we get it right.”

The full discussion from the Spotlight Health session can be found below, check it out!

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Jamara Robinson is a communications student at Howard University. Her passions range from topics within entertainment with an emphasis on hip-hop culture. She’s landed several opportunities through combining her passions with her strengths in writing, marketing, and social media.

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