Break free of narrow-mindedness

Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) says mainstream leaders must embrace diversity, and that women and people of color need equality in getting second chances.

Here’s how she challenges conventions:

Understand that multiculturalism is multifaceted. It’s about more than inclusiveness; it’s about seeing people realistically.

In Hollywood, there’s a dominant point of view, DuVernay says: “a white, male, straight gaze. When I talk about positive portrayals of black people and women, I’m saying complexity. I’m not saying goody-two-shoes, everything’s okay. No. The positive view of me is to see me as I am: the good, the bad, the gray. That is a positive portrayal.”

Failure shouldn’t be fatal. Success is unpredictable, and leaders have been preaching for years not to fear failure, but that only works if everybody gets second chances.

“You could make the most beautiful film, and that weekend it’s raining too hard on the East Coast and no one goes out. Artists should have a chance to do it again. Women artists don’t get a second chance. People of color don’t get a second chance,” she says. “You’re put in director’s jail and that’s a wrap. Whereas I can give a list a mile long of people who are not of color or women who get the opportunity: ‘Do you want to make another bomb? Here’s more money.’ You have to give people a chance to find their voice, to play.”

— Adapted from “How Director Ava DuVernay Challenges The Conventions,” Fast Company.