Ava DuVernay might be the first woman of color to direct a live-action movie with a budget of $100 million or more, but it’s certainly not because she is the first woman of color qualified to do so. In a recent Instagram post, DuVernay—who will helm Disney’s upcoming adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time—made sure to hold Hollywood accountable for these slights amid all the celebrating.
“[I’m] not the first woman of color capable [of directing a $100 million film],” the Selma director wrote on Instagram on Thursday. “Not by a long shot. This should have happened a long time ago with [Daughters of the Dust director] Julie Dash or [A Dry White Season director] Euzhan Palcy or [Losing Ground director] Kathleen Collins or [A Different World and Gilmore Girls director] Neema Barnette. We need more. And more. And more. More voices. More kinds and creeds and colors of filmmakers.”
On Twitter, DuVernay added that this lack of opportunities given to female directors of color is “a shame” and that “Hollywood and audiences have missed some wonderful voices.” She concluded her Instagram post on an optimistic note: “Saluting my sister filmmakers. Onward for all of us.”
Writer and filmmaker Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl fame recently shared a similarly bittersweet reaction upon hearing that she’d achieved a different milestone for black women on TV. Vulture reported that at the Television Critics Association session for her upcoming HBO series, Insecure, last week, Rae learned that her show will be the first premium cable program created by and starring a black woman.
“Is that true?” she asked. “That’s sad!”