Hollywood Director Ava DuVernay: America Is a ‘Leaderless Country’

US director Ava Duvernay arrives for the European premiere of the film 'Selma' in London on January 27, 2015. The film starring David Oyelowo and directed by Ava DuVernay is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led Martin Luther King in the US. AFP PHOTO / …

As she accepted a GLAAD “Excellence in Media” award over the weekend, Hollywood Director Ava DuVernay described America as a “leaderless country.”

The Wrinkle in Time director made her proclamations at the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards held in New York City. DuVernay was presented with the award for her “fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

After an introduction by New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker, Ava DuVernay opened her remarks by insisting that art and activism are “one and the same.”

She claimed that activists are similar to artists because “It takes great imagination to envision a world and a way of being that is not there. That’s the definition of art to me.”

DuVernay then offered praise for past LGBTQ activists.

“So when I look at the many warriors who have had to apply this art, this imagination, to their very lives as LGBTQ people to survive in this country, I stand and salute,” she said. “And I feel honored to be able to share some of those stories in the film and TV that I make and in the films that I distribute.”

DuVernay celebrated gay activists “for your fight, for your resilience, for your defiance, for your daring, for your dignity, for your declaration of self.”

But the director had particular scorn for President Donald Trump:

“May our kindred of all kinds and colors defy what this leaderless country tells them they are,” she said. “May our kindred feel our love here tonight, our striving for them here tonight. May the light in this room somehow reach them in this moment.”

DuVernay concluded with a poignant quote from the late feminist writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde: “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid, so it is better to speak.”

Others who received honors at the GLAAD event included actress Samira Wiley, who was praised for playing gay characters, and Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, who was honored for her recent admission that she is gay.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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