Ever since Ava DuVernay made waves with her film Selma, the director has used her platform to effect change both within the industry and outside of it.
For her new family drama on OWN, Queen Sugar, DuVernay made it clear that her hiring choices were conscious decisions on many levels. At Tuesday night’s premiere of the upcoming show, Ava told the crowd, “We had a majority women and people of color writer’s room. A lot of people do not know that there is this position, and they don’t know that a sister can do it.”
As DuVernay introduced her all-female directing team, who she hand-picked to tell the story this season, she continued, “Some of these women have been trying to work in television, had doors closed to them, that’s the kind of industry we work in. You can make beautiful films that go to Berlin, Cannes, South By [Southwest], Sundance, and yet you can’t get an episode on television in Hollywood.”
Oprah Winfrey, also executive producer of the show, stated, “Bringing not just diversity, but inclusion of people who probably in many points would not have an opportunity to go in and direct a series like this, that was the statement. I think everyone has a different view in telling stories, but you will see a connected lyricism and sensuality to this series that I think happened because all of the women involved.”
Queen Sugar – which tells the story of estranged siblings in Louisiana – premieres as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6th at 10 p.m. on OWN.