Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

AVA DUVERNAY

DIRECTOR & ACTIVIST

Ava DuVernay is a world renown filmmaker known for her groundbreaking films ‘Selma’ (2014) and ‘13th’ (2016). Ava’s films and documentaries capture the vibrancy and the hardships of the Black experience in America.

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Born on August 24, 1972, in Long Beach, CA to parents Darlene Maye and Murray Maye she grew up in the city of Lynwood, CA. DuVernay graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she double-majored in English and African American studies. After UCLA, Ava worked as a publicist eventually starting her very own media agency focusing on lifting up the work of African Americans.


While DuVernay would not create her first short film until the age of 32, she became the first Black woman director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and have a film, Selma, nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Ava ensures that her content that both positively and accurately portrays the Black community. Her most recent project, 13th, a film centered around race and the corrupt justice system is indeed powerful. The film dissects the falseness of the 13th amendment of the United States, which states that slavery was outlawed. DuVernay argues that slavery hasn't been outlawed, but has morphed into mass incarceration of Black folks. An extensive résumé filled with socially conscious, outstanding and informational films separates DuVernay from her peers.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay

Bob Bland

Bob Bland