Did You Know That Ava DuVernay Is The First Black Woman Director To Receive A Golden Globe Nomination


Born in 1972 in Long Beach, California, Ava DuVernay worked in film publicity and marketing, and established her own agency, before deciding to become a filmmaker. She helmed hip-hop documentaries and then released two feature films: I Will Follow (2010) and Middle of Nowhere (2012). The holiday season of 2014 saw the release of Selma, which follows a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life during an urgent call for voting rights. With this critically acclaimed work, DuVernay became the first African-American female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination.

Background and Early Career

Ava DuVernay was born on August 24, 1972, in Long Beach, California. Growing up with an entrepreneurial father who owned a carpeting business, DuVernay had an interest in rhyming and hip-hop and eventually attended UCLA. During the 1990s, she worked in film publicity before starting the DuVernay Agency, which specialized in movie marketing for African-American audiences.

Directing Debut

While on the set of the 2004 thriller Collateral, starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise, DuVernay felt inspired to start making her own films. She initially released shorts like 2006’s Saturday Night Life and the documentaries This Is the Life (2008), which looked at alternative hip-hop artists, and My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop, which aired on BET in 2010.

That same year, DuVernay made her feature film debut as director and screenwriter with the drama I Will Follow, a poignant drama about a woman who is grieving over the loss of her aunt to cancer. The work put DuVernay on the map, with film critic Roger Ebert calling the outing, “a universal story about universal emotions.”

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