April 5, 2017
By Sharee Silerio
Ava DuVernay, an award-winning screenwriter, producer, director and distributor of independent films, has been named on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Greatest Leaders” list.
The annual list, in its fourth year, critiques focusing on the negative things leaders do and instead aims to pay homage to people around the world who “excel at leading effectively in today’s environment” in their respective fields.
DuVernay ranks No. 6 on the list, and the magazine says that “Her success continues to draw attention to Hollywood’s need for better representation of women and minorities both in front of, and behind, the camera.”
The lack of diversity in film and television, including the limiting ways black and brown people are often portrayed, has been called out and criticized over the last few years. Viral hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite have shed light on the Academy’s lack of minority nominations and accolades.
DuVernay is dedicated to diversifying the film industry through Array Now, a film distribution and resource collective focused on amplifying independent films by women and filmmakers of color, thus giving their work a voice.
This year, she received her first Oscar nomination for 13th, a documentary about the connection between the prison system and racism in the United States. She is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. DuVernay continues to make history, as she is the first black woman to direct a film with a budget of $100 million, for an adaptation of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Although she has been a filmmaker for less than a decade, she is a trailblazer who has used her conscience and gift for storytelling to not only change the film and television industries, but forge a path for others to do the same.
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from St. Louis University and a Master of Arts in Media Communications from Webster University. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama, sci-fi, and comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.