Oprah Winfrey and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay have reteamed for the upcoming OWN drama “Queen Sugar”, and the duo open up about the thorny issue of race in Hollywood in a joint interview for The Hollywood Reporter.
When it comes to the ongoing diversity debate, Winfrey and DuVernay prefer a different word: inclusion.
“I used to use the word ‘diversity’ all the time,” says Winfrey. “We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters … Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I’ve learned from [DuVernay] that the word that most articulates what we’re looking for is what we want to be: included. It’s to have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made.”
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“Forward-thinking people and allies of this cause within the industry have the common sense to know that this is systemic,” adds DuVernay. “There needs to be more done than applauding one or two people who make it through your door.”
Winfrey and DuVernay also discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, which Winfrey says is inherent within their new TV project, about African-American siblings who return home to take over the family-run sugar plantation.
“Everybody gets caught up in the slogan and the hashtag and the protest,” says Winfrey. “What we’re trying to do is get you to feel it. You get to feel it when Ralph Angel [Kofi Siriboe] is putting his son to bed, laying with him and reading a story. Intimacy and connection between a father and son? We’ve just not seen it [with black characters on series TV].”
You can read more in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.