Selma proves Ava DuVernay is the director we’ve all been waiting for

Ava DuVernay, director/writer of The Door, I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere, and Selma, has done what many had thought was impossible – she’s compelled the Golden Globes (and the world at large) to finally take notice of a Black female director.

Not only is this a historical feat, she’s also managed to do it while showcasing the humanity of black characters – at a time when we are yet again questioning whether #BlackLivesMatter in America.

The timing of her film Selma couldn’t be more perfect, more meaningful, or more historical.

A film about Selma – one of the most significant markers of the Civil Rights movement – being released at the same time as the civil unrest in Ferguson is nothing short of divine. DuVernay has proven to be the perfect vessel to carry this message about human rights and has risen to the occasion beautifully. In press, she’s said she believes we must examine what happened in Selma to give us guidance and inspiration for what is happening now. Not that everything should be handled the same, but that there was a strategy, harmony, and synergy behind the actions of Martin Luther King and his team we can definitely learn from.

I haven’t even seen the movie yet, but I get chills every time I watch the preview! My husband and I have a date set with friends for the opening this Friday. We’re showing up to support Ava, to support the actors, and to allow our presence to say that this piece of American history should never be forgotten.

It is not often that black actors are given a space to expand, explore and dig deep. Not that her characters are perfect, but they are undeniably human, multifaceted and real. Too many times, actors of color are relegated to the same roles and have to pick from characters that lack depth. Many of us know David Oyelowo from movies like Planet of the Apes or The Butler, but would we have gotten to truly experience his brilliance as a leading man if DuVernay hadn’t believed in him? Probably not.

To me, that’s what makes Duvernay the director we’ve been waiting for – her ability to curate compelling platforms that allow artists of color to shine; something that is in short supply and has been for ages. While she is a director, writer and distributor of black films, she is not using the race card or gender card to complain. Instead, she is an empowered artist who proves that if the mainstream media won’t give Black Hollywood a seat at the table, we will create our own seats.

While there has been recent controversy over Selma’s writing credits (it has been reported that DuVernay will not be getting acknowledgement as cowriter on the script), there is nothing that can dampen the spirit of this film, nor the creative prowess of the cast that brought it to life. Any attempt to undermine it is feeble at best, because Selma has very clearly spoken for itself. There are other writers and directors who could have created this film, yet only one who could have done it quite like this.

Thank you, Ava, for breathing life into our stories!

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