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How a career change at 32 led Ava DuVernay to become the first black woman to direct a $100 million film


Black Women in Entertainment

How a career change at 32 led Ava DuVernay to become the first black woman to direct a $100 million film



Ava DuVernay is a director, producer and screenwriter whose highly-anticipated movie, “A Wrinkle in Time,” has earned her recognition as the first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $100 million.

But unlike many directors who got their start in the industry with film school and assistant positions, DuVernay’s journey has been far from traditional.

“When people tell [my story], it’s about race and gender — ‘black woman director’ — but my story’s also really about age, because I didn’t pick up a camera until I was 32,” she tells Refinery29.

Instead of going to film school, DuVernay went to the University of California, Los Angeles and majored in English and African-American studies. Initially, she set her sights on a career in journalism, but an internship at CBS News quickly changed her trajectory.

“I was working on the O. J. Simpson case — a turning point in the way hard news integrated celebrity news,” she tells Elle. “I wasn’t interested in that. It’s valuable to have those early experiences to learn what you don’t want.”

She went on to do film marketing and publicity and in 1999 she started her own publicity firm called The DuVernay Agency and worked with films like “Collateral,” “Dream Girls,” and “Invictus.”

In 2008 she created a documentary called “This is Life” about the hip-hop scene at a local cafe, but tells The Washington Post that even then, filmmaking was not part of her plan. It wasn’t until 2010 when she …

Read More: How a career change at 32 led Ava DuVernay to become the first black woman to direct a $100 million film


I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

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