As a black female filmmaker, Ava DuVernay is well acquainted with the unique obstacles faced by those who don’t have white male privilege in the industry. And she’s used her art and work to fight back, creating opportunities for women and people of color through her productions. On her series Queen Sugar, she’s dedicatedly hired female directors, including Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, and Liesl Tommy. And she’s done this while not hiring a single male director, which has sparked some outrage over alleged misandry.
Well, fresh from the Cannes Film Festival in which she was a radiant member of the jury, DuVernay has visited Late Night with Seth Meyers and addressed those criticizing her crewing. She also talks about awarding Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman the Grand Prix, how she came to adapt the novel Queen Sugar, vacationing with Oprah, and directing DC’s upcoming New Gods. It’s all good, but if you want to jump to her comments on female directors, go to minute four.
“There are some people who are like, ‘What about the guys?’” DuVernay said, explaining the controversy. “And I was like, ‘What about the guys? Was there a problem.’ Because we have so many shows—for years and years, season after season—have only had male directors. So how you going to come ask me why do we only have female directors? Why don’t you talk to those guys and ask them why they don’t have any women, instead of ask me why we don’t have any men. When you do that, then we can have a conversation. Until you do that? No.”