Ava DuVernay: When I Was A Kid, I Can’t Tell You Any Shows On TV I Actually Related To

August 1, 2017  |  

Ava DuVernay First Time I Saw Me

For the longest, marginalized individuals in society have been asking for representation on television. For some reason, networks were hung up on that r-word for years, including token-like characters from time to time in an attempt to appease the masses, but all any of us has been asking for all of these years is to simply see ourselves on the small screen.

Netflix was one of the largest networks to understand that demand, breaking out into original programming that allowed viewers to truly see themselves in the roles they watched on the streaming service. In fact, this year alone, Netflix has created more than 1,000 hours of original, multi-layered content centered on unique, intersectional stories. And as an extension of that, they’ve launched an initiative called, “First Time I Saw Me,” to lead the conversation around representation in Hollywood.

As part of that effort, Netflix asked producer and director Ava DuVernay to speak on the topic, both from a spectator as a child to now a content creator of some of the most prolific and humanizing representational works for African Americans. In the clip below, DuVernay talks about not having seen any shows on TV she could relate to as a child — not even the widely heralded “Cosby Show” — to now having her own work, like “The 13th,” spark conversation and, more important, action, which she says is the beauty of art and activism.

Check out the clip below. Can you relate?

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