“We’re hearing a lot about diversity. I hate that word so, so much.”
So said Ava DuVernay to a room of reporters and fellow members of the film industry at a Sundance Film Festival luncheon on Sunday, reports The New York Times. The 'Fifth Annual ARRAY Soiree,' launched in partnership with Indiegogo, was in celebration of DuVernay's independent film company ARRAY.
For the filmmaker, words like inclusion and belonging form a better picture of Hollywood's representation problem. "[Diversity] is a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue," She said at the event. "It’s emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview.”
DuVernay, whose 2014 film "Selma" helped sparked the #OscarSoWhite hashtag after it was snubbed for Best Actor and Best Director noms last year, has been a fierce champion of inclusion and representation in the film industry. In 2010, she founded the distribution company ARRAY, dedicated to the amplification of independent films by people of color and women filmmakers.
At the luncheon, DuVernay shared some final powerful words on how she thinks Hollywood can move forward:
There’s a belonging problem in Hollywood. Who dictates who belongs? The very body who dictates that looks all one way... Change has to happen, it has to happen with the people who dictate who belongs. It’s disconcerting to hear people say that shouldn’t change. That’s the very reason it should.
DuVernay's words echo TV exec Shonda Rhimes's recent statement that there's nothing "trailblazing" about putting people of color on TV and in movies. Hopefully, "diversity" will soon go from a buzzword to an everyday practice in Hollywood.
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