Watch: Dee Rees Says It’s Not Enough to Just Be a Black Woman; You Must Be Excellent

The Root 100The Root 100: Celebrating Black Excellence, 10 Years and Counting

Dee Rees is out here making movies that stick to your ribs. From Pariah to Bessie to her latest, Mudbound, which was released on Netflix Friday. It’s because of these amazing films that Rees was recognized on The Root 100 as an honoree, holding down the 42nd spot.


Full Disclosure: Netflix flew The Root to Los Angeles to interview the cast and director and all I could think was, “Mary!”

When The Root sat with Rees in Los Angeles for the Mudbound junket, she was shocked about being honored and said, “Oh my God! I didn’t even know that. Thank you so much! It’s truly an honor.” And when asked about how it felt, she explained that it was not enough to be celebrated for being a black woman: Black women must be excellent.


Speaking of excellence, The Root 100 airs this weekend, so make sure you check it out so you can see all of the black excellence 2017 brought to us.

The Root 100 prime-time special airs on Fusion TV on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 9 p.m.

Pretty. Witty. Girly. Worldly. One who likes to party, but comes home early. I got stories to tell. Prince (yes, that Prince) called me excellence. Achievement unlocked.

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I have a lot of goals for myself in entertainment. But I’d really like to produce movies written and directed by POC. Most of that desire is altruism: there’s a dearth of stories from POC and they deserve to have their stories told. But part of that desire is this: I’m gonna get paid. I went to see Inglorious Basterds in theaters three times. So it’s a no-brainer that high-quality movies made with POC in mind will make a massive amount of money (looking at you, Black Panther!)