Friday, May 20, 2022

Ava DuVernay: ‘I Have Lupus, and That’s Why I Put It in Queen Sugar’

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Cori Murray and Ava DuVernay speak on stage at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 05, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(July 4, 2019 – Source: Getty Images North America)

*Award-winning director and filmmaker Ava DuVernay revealed for the first time during a conversation at Essence Festival that she lives with lupus. 

DuVernay is the mastermind behind the hit OWN series “Queen Sugar,” which follows a family who inherits a sugarcane farm in the south. One of the family members, Aunt “Vi” Violet, has lupus — an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack your body’s healthy tissue. It affects approximately 5 million people worldwide, per themighty.com

DuVernay opened up about her “very personal” connection to Aunt Vi’s storyline during a discussion with the cast at Essence Fest last weekend. 

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“I have Lupus, and that’s why I put it in Queen Sugar,” Ava shared, according to People. “I’ve been in remission for 20 years, but I did want to make sure that we create spaces to talk about it. We wanted to really give that chronic illness to Vi and show you can live and you can battle through it, you can continue to thrive, but you have to manage it.” Ava explained during the festival discussion.

“It’s something I’ve been able to manage and live with and thrive,” she added. “It’s really given me strength in a lot of different ways and so hopefully her character going through it as well will help people know they can do the same.”

Following the introduction the lupus storyline on “Queen Sugar”  in 2017, the Lupus Foundation of America thanked DuVernay for her portrayal of the chronic condition on he series. 

“Raising awareness for Lupus is personal to me as it affects my family and so many,” she tweeted in response. “Honored to share the experience. Will continue to do so.”

“Queen Sugar” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on OWN Network. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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