Strong. Focused. Hard-working. Always looking up. This picture says so much about my Pops. I took it maybe a decade ago. He didn’t know he was being photographed. This was just him being him. Woke up every morning early and to work with his hands - and his heart. Owned his own successful small business for 20+ years. Fell to his knees every night to pray, like his grandmother taught him. Grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama. One of eight brothers. Met my Mom in a night club in LA, and married her and her three daughters when I was small. Usually was the quietest person in the room. Until he got comfortable and then watch out. You’d hear his beautiful little chuckle. The best man I’ve ever known. And the strongest. Definitely the kindest. Proud to be his. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you more than words can hold.
My niece Mali turns 13 today. I took this picture of her observing Kara Walker’s work at The Broad in LA last year around Christmastime. One of our rare visits that are too few and far between. She lives in Alabama. I live in Cali. I see her beautiful face maybe three times a year if I’m lucky. I’m writing this post for her to know that although we don’t see each other all the time, she is in my every heart beat, every day. She is a part of me. Everywhere I go. I love her truly and deeply. And no distance between us will ever change that. Got that, kid? Happy birthday, @maliiiisallll.
You’re a spectacular person. Love you. Always, Auntie Ava
“Creativity is a word that is bandied around, but it’s really a magic. It’s something that has to be guarded, protected and preserved.” Thanks to @Adweek
for including me on this year’s #Creative100
cover and for the cool Q+A about magic-infused work.
This is my friend. A true living legend. She created a space on American television that, for 25 years, changed what we talked about, shifted culture and politics, helped us explore how we felt inside the quiet of our hearts. She’s one of a kind. And her exhibit at @NMAAHC
is too. More than 250 artifacts and videos from a singular legacy. And she’s not finished yet. Brava, @Oprah.
Your life is breathtaking to witness. xo
Here are the 25 women directors who have helmed QUEEN SUGAR over our past three seasons. For 21 of them, it was their first episode of television. They’ve since gone on to direct for many other shows. American Crime. Underground. Scandal. Grey’s Anatomy. Power. Insecure. Ozark. Transparent. Dear White People. 13 Reasons Why. Greenleaf. Dear White People. Black Lightening. Love Is. Luke Cage. Agents of SHIELD. Survivors Remorse. Star. Chicago Med. The Fosters. Claws. The Chi. Vida. The Good Fight. Bosch. Halt and Catch Fire. Blindspot. The list goes on. These women just needed a first YES. To my fellow EPs, to the studio execs, to the network decision makers, as you staff up for fall, consider saying: YES.
I have loved Bono and U2 since I was a girl. I’ve been guarded and guided by their work in many moments of my life. I first learned about human rights and activism, not through Martin Luther King as he was blandly taught in school, but through the passion of Bono’s voice singing of the civil rights icon in the song PRIDE. I named my first narrative film, I WILL FOLLOW, after their song that meant so much to me and my Aunt Denise. She was the one who first introduced me to their music. I played their song BAD on the day I buried her and it helped me lift my head as I drove to the funeral, like a balm for my wounded heart. My favorite all-time song of U2 is DROWNING MAN. It’s not a hit song. It’s a heart song. And it lives in mine. In the song, Bono sings the words: “take my hand.” A moment before this picture was snapped, he reached over and took mine in his. I was breathless and speechless. He and Edge were everything a fan wishes their hero will be upon meeting them. Every single thing. My true thanks to all who made the moment possible, especially my friend @Oprah
, who knows my heart and that this would make it shine and shimmer and sing. It did. In more ways than I can express. It’s a beautiful day. xo
This picture was taken of me ten years ago this week. I was on the festival circuit with my very first film, a doc I made for about $8k cobbled together paycheck to paycheck. I was so proud to be sitting in that chair! Speaking as a filmmaker! I remember this day so clearly. It was a weekend. And on the next Monday, I had to be back at my day job. But in this moment, I was a filmmaker. And it was glorious. We have to invest in ourselves, ya'll. We have to invest in our own dreams. Before we expect or ask, desire or inquire, for other people to invest in us. I don't mean just money. I mean invest with our whole heart and mind, every ounce of our time and talent. Make something. Do something. However you can. With whatever you can. Don't wait. Just try. Get that warm energy moving and invest in you. You never know where it may lead. But you do know that it will make you feel glorious in the moment. And if you truly love what you’re pursuing, that might very well be enough. Happy long weekend! xo
Let me tell you a small Sunday story. We happened to be on the same flight back to NYC. And I happened to ask to see his history-making Cannes Grand Prix Prize. And he happened to say yes. And then me and about 27 other passengers stood there and swooned and smiled. The End. xo