×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ava DuVernay Celebrates Minorities Behind the Camera at ‘Queen Sugar’ Premiere

Ava DuVernay made it clear that casting minorities in front of and behind the camera was a conscious effort on her part at the premiere of OWN’s newest family drama, “Queen Sugar.”

“We had a majority women and people of color writer’s room,” the creator-producer-director told the crowd after introducing her team. She then waved for her African-American female post-production supervisor to come onstage. “A lot of people do not know that there is this position, and they don’t know that a sister can do it.”

The applause continued as Duvernay introduced her all-female directing team, who she hand-picked to tell the story this season. “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.”

“Bringing not just diversity, but inclusion of people who probably in many points would not have an opportunity to to go in and direct a series like this, that was the statement,” exec producer Oprah Winfrey asserted on the carpet. “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.”

Longtime actor and series guest star Glynn Turman also shared with Variety that it was “refreshing” to see such a change in scenery behind the camera.

“It’s something I remember when I started in the business you did not see, and that was the battle cry: why don’t we see it, and how do we get to see it?” said Turman. “Surely, over the years that wall seems to have a chink in it and hopefully that chink will be wider and wider so more and more will flow through, but that will only happen if we continue with due diligence.”

Queen Sugar,” which adapts from the Natalie Baszile novel and tells the story of  estranged siblings who come together to to run an ailing sugarcane farm in Louisiana, premieres as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. on OWN.

More Scene

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

  • Gerard Butler, Haim Saban and Cheryl

    Why Haim and Cheryl Saban's $50 Million Donation to Academy Museum Almost Didn't Happen

    Haim and Cheryl Saban’s $50 million donation has landed them their name on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, but the billionaire philanthropists’ contribution to the project almost didn’t happen. During Tuesday’s unveiling of the restored exterior of the new Saban Building (formerly the historic May Company department [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content