Melissa Harris-Perry interviewed Selma Director, Ava DuVernay this past weekend at Essence Festival. The discussion revolved around everything from diversity in Hollywood to DuVernay’s transition to directing where she spoke about how she held on to her day job until she began working on Selma.

 “I saw people directing, white men directing, and said I want to do that. I didn’t give up my day job for the dream I had. People say, ‘I have a dream, and I want it right now,’ but it’s ok to do it little by little. The first film I made, was check-to-check. The first five films I made, I still had my day job.”

Over the course of the interview, DuVernay also showed a brief clip from her upcoming series Queen Sugar. This highly anticipated drama series is an adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s novel of the same name and follows the story of a mother and daughter who inherit a sugarcane farm in Louisiana as they navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives to run this ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South.  The cast includes, Rutina Wesley, Oprah Winfrey (Greenleaf), Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Unforgettable, Heroes), Kofi Siriboe (Awkward, Whiplash), Omar J. Dorsey (Ray Donovan, Selma), and more.

“If you love black man, if you love black women, you will see something you’ll love.” – Ava DuVernay on Queen Sugar

The series will mark DuVernay’s television series directorial debut, and she worked alongside an all-female directorial team including many women of color who have made a great impact on the independent film community.   Victoria Mahoney, Neema Barnette, Tina Mabry, Tanya Hamilton, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, So Yong Kim, and Kat Candler are just a few of the brilliantly creative women who used their talents alongside DuVernay to bring this series to light.

Queen Sugar will debut Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 PM on OWN.  It will then air regularly on Wednesday nights at 10 PM for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

“I don’t have big dreams. I just want to be here in five years, breathing and doing what I love to do. I just need to be free to tell my stories from my spirit, my heart, and unrestricted. Life is fleeting. If we could be here doing what we love to do, that is success.” – Ava DuVernay



About The Author

The HBR Media Team is a collective group of black women filmmakers, writers, and studio/network executives who are passionate about bringing visibility to women of African descent working in film and television.

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