Ava DuVernay is the kind of woman who has such a dynamic, regal personality, that when she walks in the room, her presence is immediately felt. In addition to her incredible talents and accolades, she is as kind and endearing as you would hope she’d be.
I was fortunate to travel to LA as part of a select group of reporters invited to watch Disney’s latest adventure on the historic studio lot. Upon my arrival, illuminated portraits of Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kailing’s whimsical Wrinkle In Time characters greeted me, as they lined the sidewalk outside the theater. We filed in, excitement and anticipation forming a combustible energy inside. An emcee announced a surprise and our eyes darted toward the nearest door to see Ava greet us with a beaming smile. While introducing the film, she challenged the adults in the room to tap into their inner child and imagine ourselves on an adventure like the lead actress in A Wrinkle In Time.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Ava was set to host the Wrinkle In Time world premiere the same weekend she would be presented with the Industry Vision Award at the annual ABFF Honors. She is the personification of excellence and drive.
DuVernay is the first Black woman to helm a $100 million film and that isn’t something she takes lightly. During her acceptance speech at ABFF Honors, sponsored by Cadillac, DuVernay remembered a time when she couldn’t afford to pay for craft services to feed the team working on her then-project Middle Of Nowhere. She thanked her friend and lead actor on the critically-acclaimed film, Omari Hardwick, for personally reaching into his pocket to help provide for the staff. She also used her speech to commend the other honorees, Billy Dee Williams and Tiffany Haddish, praising them for their respective contributions to the genre.
Earlier that day, she appeared alongside Oprah and the full cast of A Wrinkle In Time. To top off an already illustrious weekend, the film’s blue carpet spanned blocks on Hollywood Boulevard, shutting down the busy street for a once in a lifetime Hollywood premiere. Ava walked the carpet in a daring fuchsia Cushnie et Ochs gown until it was time to introduce the film at the El Capitan Theater, where we were treated to a wonderful cinematic experience.
Ava DuVernay continues to break barriers and push boundaries as a Black woman in a male-dominated industry. Her star continues to rise as she genre-jumps and provides inspiration to rising content creators. For those of us lucky to witness a visionary in her prime, it’s an absolute privilege.
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