Ava DuVernay on diversity: ‘There’s a belonging problem in Hollywood’ | EW.com
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Movies | Oscars 2016

Ava DuVernay on diversity: ‘There’s a belonging problem in Hollywood’

(Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

The debate over diversity in Hollywood has reached a fever pitch over the past two weeks, after the Oscars nominated only white actors for a second year in a row. But Selma director Ava DuVernay, who’s been one of the most outspoken advocates on the issue, says she’d rather use a different word than “diversity.”

After speaking on the topic at an event at the Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay told the New York Times that the word “diversity” doesn’t quite capture the entire issue. “I feel it’s a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue,” she said. “It’s emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview.”

Instead, she suggested words like inclusion or belonging, adding, “There’s a belonging problem in Hollywood. Who dictates who belongs? The very body who dictates that looks all one way.”

DuVernay also praised the rapid actions of the Academy, which recently promised sweeping overhauls in an attempt to increase diversity in its membership. Under the new rules, the Academy has sworn to double the number of female and minority members in its ranks, and it’s also establishing new guidelines about which members are eligible to vote for the Oscars. When the Academy changes were first announced, DuVernay took to Twitter to applaud the new changes as “one good step,” adding, “Shame is a helluva motivator.”

“Change has to happen; it has to happen with the people who dictate who belongs,” DuVernay told the Times. “It’s disconcerting to hear people say that shouldn’t change. That’s the very reason it should.”