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Okayplayer Premiere: Watch Ava DuVernay & Q-Tip In Conversation At The Tribeca Film Festival

Okayplayer Premiere: Watch Ava DuVernay & Q-Tip In Conversation At The Tribeca Film Festival

Watch Ava DuVernay & Q-Tip's Full Talk From TFF



Last Wednesday, Selma director Ava DuVernay and hip-hop legend Q-Tip sat down for a conversation during the Tribeca Film Festival. Okayplayer is proud to premiere the full video of their discussion.

“My mission in all of my work, truly, is to magnify the magnificence of black people. Which is basically a longer way of saying, ‘black lives matter.’ If we don’t do it, who’s gonna do it?” – Ava DuVernay

When offered the opportunity to premiere this talk for Okayplayer, I set out to write a well-thought, eloquent piece on the importance of DuVernay, the woman who said her mission — not her “goal” or “aspiration” or “hope” — her mission is to “magnify the magnificence of black people.” I wanted to pay proper homage to Q-Tip, the thoughtful, self-aware hip-hop icon who led a candid and utterly inspiring conversation that day. I wanted to use this space to explain how critically important DuVernay’s voice is for humanity (Selma is NOW, friends), but even more specifically, for women like me. Women who strive to be taken seriously, to do good work, to hold ourselves accountable for what we represent not only to others, but also for what we feel when we look inward.

But truth be told, I’m exhausted. I’m weary all the way from Ferguson to Baltimore, a hundred times over.

Each week, it becomes increasingly evident that any black woman, man, or child is a short breath away from becoming the next hashtag — the next reason we flood streets in protest, mourning loss of life, emotionally wounded by the lack of care given to our very existence. The ever increasing realization looms: there are individuals who, without even a moment of hesitation, willfully and brutally extinguish our lives. 

Why don’t they recognize our magnificence?

Step back to last week, as I sat in New York’s SVA Theater for a Tribeca talk between Selma director Ava DuVernay and hip-hop legend Q-Tip. They spoke like two old friends, despite having just met moments before. Topics ranging from what really happened to Freddie Gray, the current state of hip-hop, and Q-Tip’s acting career helped to fuel the hour-long engagement. They kept all of us in the audience captivated — many taking notes — as they discussed the depiction of blacks in arts/entertainment and the role we play in creating it. DuVernay beautifully crafted an Oscar-nominated studio film, despite the myriad number of obstacles she faced (and credit not properly given) and is moving into television projects with the same purpose and intention. Q-Tip shared the importance of having music “show and highlight black excellence, but also black complexities.”

Black lives matter. If we don’t say it, who else will?

Fortunately for me — and you — even in the midst of the emotional unrest many of us are feeling, there is this conversation between two magnificent, excellent, complex human beings. I implore you to take a moment in your day to watch and/or listen. Be inspired as we all were that day. Use that motivation to go out and magnify your own worth — regardless of your skin color — and in turn, recognize the excellence in those around you.

“The time is now,” Q-Tip told a friend and me during a completely unexpected (but fully welcome) private pep talk. “Yesterday is done. Tomorrow isn’t here. Now is the time.”


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