Essence Magazine is celebrating the 45th Anniversary with 5 extraordinary women who they recognized as “Game Changers.” The women featured on the exclusive cover includes Ava Duvernay, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae and Debbie Allen. They all are dressed elegant drenched in all white. Essence spoke to each woman individually about obstacles in television and film.
Shonda Rhimes on Women of Color in Hollywood:
“It’s an economic fact. There are more people of color than ever before…When the shows start doing bigger numbers than what they think are going to be their top ten shows, it becomes really hard to suggest that it’s a trend.”
Ava DuVernay on diversity:
“Of course that has to happen […] but it is more about people working autonomously, independently, to create their own structures, mechanisms, companies, outlets. Look at you, Issa—nobody was giving you anything, so you created your own work and your own platform and your own way to distribute.”
Debbie Allen on progression in Hollywood:
“I look at it as an opportunity. It is wide open and for the taking. When I first started, there were no women in the room, there were no Black people in the room.”
Mara Brock Akil on Black women’s sex lives:
“I’ve been relentless [about discussing sexuality] since Girlfriends… My feeling about sexuality and showing a consenting adult having sex is that it’s so empowering “Because if you are making the choice, you then have to be responsible for the choice. I think that message is conveyed to the audience. You’re not just there for the convenience of a man, you are there because you want it. It creates an opportunity—well, hopefully—for the young lady watching or the other women watching to understand you have a say in this.”
All of these quotes were pulled from Essence Magazine and you can check out their full interviews at essencemag.com.