Why ‘Selma’ Director Ava DuVernay Joined #BlackFridayBlackout Over Ferguson

“We are in a sad, distorted continuum. It’s time to really look in that mirror,” DuVernay tells TheWrap

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‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay is among the Hollywood figures leading a retail boycott this Friday in protest against police brutality in response to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Ferguson is a mirror of the past,” DuVernay wrote in an email to TheWrap on Wednesday. “And S‎elma is a mirror of now. We are in a sad, distorted continuum. It’s time to really look in that mirror.”

The boycott known as #BlackOutBlackFriday aims, according to its website “to end violence against and the unjust killings of American citizens.” DuVernay, who has just completed a film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, “Selma,” which had its first showing earlier this month, has joined other leading Hollywood figures including director Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale”), agent Charles King, Jesse Williams, Russell Simmons, Kat Graham and others to urge a nationwide boycott of retailers on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

DuVernay said she was dismayed by the grand jury decision not to bring charges against police officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot Michael Brown. “My reaction to the verdict was to nourish, to feed the community with complex images of black life because black lives matter — despite those who believe and behave otherwise,” she told TheWrap.

The timing of the wave of protests across the country is striking for DuVernay, whose new film grapples with the struggle for African-Americans to win civil rights in the 1960s. David Oyelowo plays Dr. King in the film, which opens in January, and is already garnering awards-season buzz.

DuVernay is a longtime activist for African-American filmmakers, and runs distribution collective AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. She has planned the screening of three films in Los Angeles “as a Black Friday shopping alternative,” as she put it. She will screen Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station,” her own film “Middle of Nowhere” and debut “25 to Life,” by director Mike Brown.

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