Once upon a time, she was an aspiring rapper from Compton, taking classes at UCLA and dazzling hip hop fans, from The Good Life Health Food Restaurant's Thursday night hip hop show (sponsored by Youth Positive Alternatives) to Leimert Park's Project Blowed.
Then she transformed herself into a high powered Hollywood publicist, sharing space with the likes of Beyonce or Eddie Murphy as if they were just random people waiting in line at the supermarket. She spent years cultivating relationships and becoming a highly respected name in public relations.
Two amazing stories from one life might be enough for some, but not this sister. She then got into film making, including two hip hop-themed documentaries (This Is The Life, My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women In Hip Hop) founded AFFRM (the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement), and launched her own project to set the tone, the brilliant I Will Follow starring Eureka actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield, The Event actor Blair Underwood, Rent and Cold Case veteran (and friend of the site) Tracie Thoms and former Glee actor Dijon Talton. Called by some "the most gripping character drama of this era," the film's a nuanced and intricate examination of family lives and romantic struggles.
Had enough? She's not even warmed up — this summer she filmed The Middle of Nowhere, her next film and saw the DVD release of I Will Follow happen just this week.
Her name is Ava DuVernay. Today's her birthday. You'd better recognize.