At the 2020 Critics Choice Awards last night, Ava DuVernay got a standing ovation when she and her cast and crew took the stage to accept the award for the Best Limited Series.
“Thank you to the critics for finally letting us take the stage,” Duvernay said.
Per THR, the When They See Us creator also acknowledged the sheer amount of work and person-power — including 179 actor and 312 crew members — involved in producing the four-part, five-hour film, which she described as “an act of love.” She also thanked her fellow producers, with special attention going to Netflix, “our great champions at Netflix who let a black woman do her thing.” Netflix was a recurring theme among several acceptance speeches and has been throughout the 2020 awards season.
“The series began with a tweet from Raymond Santana, and now he and Antron [McCray], Kevin [Richardson], Yusef [Salaam] and the mighty Korey Wise stand for something larger than they ever imagined,” DuVernay said. “They stand for justice. They shine bright like the gems that they always were, but that we never saw. If you watch their story and felt something in that moment, I invite you to consider doing something. There’s no right thing to do. Do what you feel, where you are, but don’t let your anger and sadness be all.”
DuVernay continued by acknowledging how the Central Park Five case was illustrative of much larger issues that are ongoing in the United States and around the world before quoting American writer and womanist Audre Lorde.
“Cases like this are happening all around the world, in this country, most specifically on our watch,” the When They See Us creator said. “People who are poor and innocent are behind bars while the rich and guilty walk free and gain power. The late poet Audre Lorde told us exactly what to do at times like this. She said when we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard, or welcomed. But when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”
Congratulations to her and her team!