BLACK VOICES

This Is How Oprah Winfrey And Ava DuVernay Define Black Lives Matter

TV's dynamic duo are planning on debunking misconceptions surrounding the social justice movement.
Winfrey and DuVernay share their thoughts on diversity and BLM in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
Winfrey and DuVernay share their thoughts on diversity and BLM in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay are aiming to “dismantle” any preconceived notions surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

During a special joint interview in the Aug. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the production duo shared their responsibility to include themes surrounding the social movement into “Queen Sugar,” their forthcoming television series.   

“You see integration of Black Lives Matter from the beginning of [’Queen Sugar’] because it is literally black lives having meaning and mattering in the everyday,” DuVernay said. “With the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of the focus is on the protest and dissent. I’m hoping to dismantle the public notion — for folks outside of the community ― of what Black Lives Matter means.”

The drama series, created and produced by Winfrey and DuVernay, follows the life of two estranged sisters who relocate to Louisiana after they inherit the family farm and rebuild their relationships with those around them.

DuVernay and Winfrey went on to add that they’re trying to get people to “feel” the movement beyond its slogan and hashtag. To help convey their message, the duo decided to avoid presenting viewers with rally scenes and handle the topic “in a way that feels elegant” by integrating scenes dealing with police aggression and people dealing with post incarceration.

As for their current thoughts surrounding diversity in Hollywood, Winfrey has taken a different stance on the topic – thanks to DuVernay’s influence.

“I will say that I stand corrected. I used to use the word ‘diversity’ all the time,” Winfrey said. “’We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters…’ Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I’ve learned from her that the word that most articulates what we’re looking for is what we want to be: included. It’s to have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made.”

“Queen Sugar” premieres on the OWN Network Sept. 6. Read more of Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter here.  

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