Ava DuVernay, Constance Wu and Jessica Chastain Fight For Hollywood Representation

“Diversity isn’t just ‘Let’s have people of color supporting this white person’s story,’” Constance Wu told Marie Claire. Ava Duv ,Constance Wu and Jessica Chastain reunited to share their stories of fighting for representation and inclusion in the film industry for the April cover story for Marie Claire.

DuVernay told the publication in an article published Thursday that she remains a “generalist,” working on projects for both the big and small screens – and despite the hurdles that she faces as a black woman in the industry

An annual 2019 USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative report revealed that women of color were “nearly invisible in film production – whether as directors, producers, or in below-the-line crew positions,” according to Stacy Smith, the initiative’s founder and director

DuVernay added she is “consistently working as a black woman filmmaker in a space that is not very welcoming to black women filmmakers.” 

She also shared that giving up a writing credit for her critically acclaimed 2014 film “Selma” was her “biggest career mistake so far.”

British screenwriter Paul Webb wrote the original screenplay but DuVernay has said that her work to rewrite and reshape the script was substantial. 

I allowed someone to put their name on my work,” she said. “I hate it every day, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let it go, but it definitely taught me some lessons that I intend to benefit from.”

On Twitter, DuVernay celebrated reuniting with Wu and Chastain, who also shared their journeys of knocking down glass ceilings in the film industry. 

“@MarieClaire got us together to talk about more future, more power, more sisterhood,” DuVernay wrote. “Love to you both.”

Wu, whose box office hit “Crazy Rich Asians” proved that Hollywood films with an Asian-American-led cast – and without stereotypical characters – can achieve box office success, shared what’s wrong with the misuse of the term, “diversity.”

“Diversity isn’t just ‘Let’s have people of color supporting this white person’s story,’” she said, adding that she once shut down a studio executive who perpetuated the idea that casts starring people of color won’t sell to audiences. 

Chastain, who the Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer says helped her fight for pay equity, recalled a time a male producer grew hostile after she didn’t return his flirtations, Marie Claire reported.

“For months, I tried to make it light, laugh it off,” she said. “Now I wish I had just told him to f*ck off.”

Chastain tweeted the cover photo on Thursday with the caption “You can sit with us.”

In January, Regina King was widely praised after she issued a call to action during her speech at the Golden Globes to those in positions of power to stand in solidarity with women, particularly with the Time’s Up movement and its campaign to boost the number of women in leadership roles. 

Odugbemi Olabode Olayinka

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