Ava DuVernay on Making 'Queen Sugar' About More Than "Being Black" | 'Queen Sugar' | Drama Showrunner Roundtable

"The fear that the industry might shift in terms of its attention to women right now or the current renaissance regarding people of color, specifically black folks on TV, and then you're left with nothing," 'Queen Sugar' creator told THR in regards to saying "no" being a privilege.

"Our cast signed up for a show where the challenge and the mission was to create a world in which people of color, black people, had concerns other than being black, which is the way that I move about my day," Ava DuVernay (Queen Sugar) told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Showrunner Roundtable. 

"I have lots of things that have to do with race, but there are also some things that have to do with culture, with class, with gender identity, with how black folks deal with, handle and reconcile their association with other people of color."

"Everyone signed up for this experiment to see if we could make something that was appealing to all audiences and very much speaking to an audience of black television lovers that allows us to kind of get underneath the family drama, into these issues that so often aren't tackled in black shows because you're always talking about being black," said DuVernay. 

On learning to say no to projects, she continued: "There's a natural tension with anyone to keep the chance for the open door. When you add to that issues of representation and marginalization that go on top of the artist's feeling of, 'Can I get my thing made?' it becomes challenging for me to say no. I get an opportunity from Netflix. 'Do you want to make a doc?' 'Yes, I want to make a doc.' Apple: 'Would you like to make a commercial?' 'Yes, I will make that commercial.' I'm running around doing everything because I love it, but also because there is the fear that any artist has that there won't be another question asked to say no to. And on top of that, the fear that the industry might shift in terms of its attention to women right now or the current renaissance regarding people of color, specifically black folks on TV, and then you're left with nothing."

More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actresses, actors, showrunners and reality creators will continue through July in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting May 25 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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