Ava DuVernay Turned An Acceptance Speech Into A Chance To Support Other Black Creators

"This is our time."

Most people use their acceptance speeches to thank and wax poetically about their team, their mom, and their God — but not Ava DuVernay. She took home Entertainer of the Year at the NAACP Image Awards last night and — while briefly acknowledging those things we just mentioned — took time to honor numerous creators of color, who, in her opinion, are changing the world through their art.


"What's going on? I'm a director, I shouldn't be up here," DuVernay began, praising her family for their support, and those she works with on 13th, Jay-Z's "Family Feud" music video, and Queen Sugar. "Thank you very much, I'm honored by this. Let me put on my glasses — I'm not going to try to be cool, I'm just a nerd with glasses."

"There's a lot of darkness in this world, but tonight I feel the warmth on me and I appreciate it. And, you know why? Because I'm in a room with all of these dynamic artists," she continued, calling out those who were nominated in her category such as Bruno Mars, Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman, Chance the Rapper, Insecure's Issa Rae, and Jay-Z.

DuVernay then told the audience — who voted for her to win this award — that she and other creators love them and that they're always trying to figure out how to best service them. That's when DuVernay, who was a first-time winner at the Image Awards, launched into a list of fellow creators of color who are doing their part to foster an audience and provide a voice to those watching who might not feel seen otherwise.

Those names DuVernay lifted up include (in alphabetical order): Courtney Kemp Agboh (Power); Kenya Barris (Black-ish and Grown-ish); Janine Sherman Barrois (Claws); Ryan Coogler (Black Panther); Lee Daniels (Empire and Star); Donald Glover (Atlanta); Misha Green (Underground); Barry Jenkins (Moonlight); Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip); Stella Meghie (Everything, Everything); Jordan Peele (Get Out); Gina Prince-Bythewood (Shots Fired); Dee Rees (Mudbound); Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder); Justin Simien (Dear White People); Lena Waithe (The Chi); and George C. Wolfe (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Yes, please consider this your watch list.

After spending a brief moment hyping everyone up for Marvel's newest installment, DuVernay did turn the attention to her next movie, a film she is clearly very proud of: Disney's A Wrinkle in Time.

"Three weeks after [Black] Panther, another hero takes the stage. It's a little Black girl — I'm not going to get emotional — a little Black girl with glasses. She saves the universe from darkness that seems to be all around us," she explained. "It's called A Wrinkle in Time. It's a love letter I've made for family and community, and the best in ourselves."

To finish, DuVernay brought the audience to its feet by encapsulating what this moment in history — specifically in terms of film, television, and other forms of media — stands for. Plus, it was fitting that on this day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there was a callout to a man who inspired others to dream.

"This is our time," DuVernay concluded. "We can say we were here when all this gorgeous art was happening and that we supported it, that we lifted each other up, that we did as Dr. King said we would do. Live the dream. We're the dream. Thank you so much."


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