A Prince Documentary Is in the Works at Netflix—with Ava DuVernay at the Helm

(l) Ava DuVernay attends the Vulture Festival Presented By AT&T on May 20, 2018 in New York City; (r) Prince speaks onstage at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images for Vulture Festival), Kevin Winter (Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

“Black excellence” is a phrase oft-used at The Root, but we’re not sure it’s quite adequate to describe this news: In the midst of completing her highly anticipated drama for Netflix, The Central Park Five, Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay is also in production on another documentary for the network, this time about the Oscar/Golden Globe/Grammy award-winning prodigy-turned-phenomenon known as Prince.

Speaking with Deadline, DuVernay spoke of the opportunity to chronicle the life and rise of one of the world’s most revered and enigmatic entertainers, who died suddenly in April of 2016.


“Prince was a genius and a joy and a jolt to the senses,” she said. “He was like no other. ... He shattered every preconceived notion, smashed every boundary, shared everything in his heart through his music. The only way I know how to make this film is with love. And with great care. I’m honored to do so and grateful for the opportunity entrusted to me by the estate.”

Prince is seen on stage at the 36th NAACP Image Awards on March 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California, where he was honored with the Vanguard Award.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

As Deadline reports, apparently, DuVernay was admired by Prince himself. The artist reportedly contacted her about collaborating prior to his untimely death at age 57. Early stages of production on this biographical project reportedly began earlier this year, with Duvernay and members of her core production team making repeated visits to Prince’s famed Minnesota studio, Paisley Park, over the past several months.

In an unprecedented move, Deadline notes. The estate has granted DuVernay “full access to the vast treasure trove of archives recordings and perhaps most immediately important to Prince’s global fanbase, the unreleased material by the prolific musician.”


As part of that global fanbase—as well as a black woman who hails from Minneapolis—this writer is “Delirious.”

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.