Ava DuVernay: ‘I Want to Be Defined as a Black Woman Filmmaker’

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Ava DuVernay has proved herself to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the art of storytelling in film. With films like I Will Follow and Selma, DuVernay’s talent will surely catapult her to becoming known as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. Or should I write one of the “greatest black woman filmmakers” of our time, because DuVernay wants to be defined as just that.

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Unlike other black filmmakers, DuVernay wants to embrace the title with open arms. In a candid video for AOL’s Makers series, DuVernay talks openly about the descriptor that she’s bestowed upon herself.

“I know and I’ve heard of people saying, ‘I don’t want to be defined as a woman filmmaker’ or ‘I don’t want to be defined as a black filmmaker.’ All good with me, but I want to be defined as a ‘black woman filmmaker,’ because that’s the lens through which I’m working,” she said.

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“That is my gaze. I’m proud of it. I don’t feel like it’s any less or limiting. I’m a black woman filmmaker, and my films are just as valid as the white man filmmaker and whoever else,” she added.

DuVernay questioned why people have to strip off who they are to fit into a dominant culture. “Say what you are. Be proud of what you are. Doesn’t mean you’re not also a filmmaker. You got something special that’s awesome,” DuVernay stated.

Watch the video below:

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