2013 The Root 100

The award-winning director was tapped to direct Brad Pitt's Selma, as well as other high-profile projects.

  • Influence: 185.4
  • Reach: 12.10
  • Substance: 7.3
  • Media Mentions: 374
  • Internet Mentions: 208000
  • Twitter Followers: 16131
  • Ava DuVernay

  • Since winning best director at Sundance, Ava DuVernay has steadily received more high-profile projects as a director for film, TV and commercials.
  • Job: Writer and director, founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement
  • Sector: Entertainment/Media
  • Twitter: @AvaEtc
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Age: 41
  • Bio: Last year, Ava DuVernay won best director at Sundance for Middle of Nowhere; she was the first black woman to win that award. Her heightened status gave the publicist-turned-writer and director the platform from which she leaped. Since then, she's shown full black life in a variety of media: partnering with Fashion Fair and Prada for fashion campaigns dripping with black women, shooting a Venus Williams documentary for ESPN and directing an episode of Scandal for ABC this season. DuVernay also is slated to direct Selma, a long-stalled feature film on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B production company. As if all of this wasn't enough, DuVernay also was invited to become a member of the vaunted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both as a writer and a director. And yet, DuVernay's most brilliant and legacy-making success may just be her company AFFRM, which distributes independent black films, like this summer's highly acclaimed Big Words.  Visit her website and like her Facebook page.
  • Fun Fact: DuVernay was a rapper during the 1990s as part of the duo Figures of Speech, for which she used the stage name Eve.