Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is one of the highest grossing movies of all time, a feat that it accomplished in almost exactly one month. The movie features a predominantly black cast and has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon, making Coogler one of the most in-demand directors in the business. Black Panther is seeing its first competition at the box office since it opened with Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time and Coogler has written a tribute to the female director who he affectionately calls his big sister.
Ava DuVernay is probably best known for Selma, the biopic of Doctor Martin Luther King, but she is quickly becoming a household name because of her talents. She is also known for her Netflix documentary 13, which delves into the American prison system and racial inequality. And now, she’s battling Black Panther, a movie which she originally turned down, with A Wrinkle in Time. The Disney movie has already seen some mixed reviews from critics, but has been hailed by fans of the original book by Madeleine L’Engle.
Ryan Coogler took time out of his day to pay tribute to Ava DuVernay, calling her a pioneer. The two have known each other since 2013, but Coogler maintains that it feels a lot longer than that, and as previously noted, he calls DuVernay his big sister. Coogler states that, “Ava is inclusion, equity and representation.” Here’s a short portion of what Ryan Coogler had to say about the talents of Ana DuVernay.
“Ava is the past, present and future. She is all of these things, but sometimes I forget she is human. I was reminded of this a couple of years back, when I got the heartbreaking news that she had lost her father. I almost lost my father, and it nearly broke me in half. Ava, the warrior, weathered that loss while making 13th to show everyone with a Netflix subscription that American slavery never ended – it had only morphed.”
The United States is probably more divided now than it ever has been, so it’s refreshing to see Ryan Coogler paying tribute to another director who is making groundbreaking art that spotlights what’s going on in our culture. Even though the two feel like they’re related, it’s refreshing to see a big-name director take time out of his day to pay tribute to anther director whom he respects. Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time are both sending shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry.
Ryan Coogler centers his tribute to Ava DuVernay on loss and the process of grief to bring someone back, even if it’s only through memory. The short tribute is telling of how seriously Coogler takes his art and his respect for others that inspire him to keep doing what he’s doing. Though he hasn’t officially confirmed that he’s returning for Black Panther 2, it’s a no-brainer, and the movie wouldn’t be the same without him and Ava DuVernay’s influence. You can read Ryan Coogler’s entire tribute to Ava DuVernay through ESPN.