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Hollywood has recently made significant strides when it comes to making room for people of color in lead roles, the director's chair and being in charge of production.
We saw it when Jordan Peele became the fifth black director nominated in Oscar history for Get Out, Mudbound star Mary J. Blige being the first person to be nominated for song and acting for the same film, and Sterling K. Brown making Golden Globes history with his Best Actor win for This Is Us.
And of course, Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is crushing the box office as it grossed $400 million in four days less than The Avengers. But according to Ava DuVernay, we shouldn't be too quick to praise these long overdue changes just yet.
The director, who is making history as the first woman of color to direct a film with a $100 million-plus budget for A Wrinkle In Time, called herself an "anomaly." "[Black Panther’s] Ryan Coogler is an anomaly, [Moonlight’s] Barry Jenkins is an anomaly, [Mudbound’s] Dee Rees is an anomaly. When you can name us all on two hands, that’s not change," DuVernay explained during W Hotels' recent What She Said series, per The Hollywood Reporter.
But she does acknowledge Hollywood's progress. “There was a time when Hollywood said, ‘We will tell your story,’ ” said DuVernay, referencing films like Glory and Beasts of the Southern Wild, where white filmmakers created the stories of black characters. "That didn’t feel like what I knew as a black girl, but it’s an interpretation, not a reflection, and that’s valid. But we’re in a dynamic time right now, telling our own stories."
DuVernay also pointed out there needs to be more of a balance behind the scenes, with equal amounts of women and men on the crew as well as scoring the lead roles: "These are moments that are not sustainable unless there’s systemic change. We sit on top of a broken system. Unless there is systemic change, we’re just the sparkly stuff on top that makes people feel good."
The director is prepping the release of A Wrinkle In Time, which stars Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña and Storm Reid as the young female heroine. Look out for the film on March 9, 2018.