When Amanda and I planned to catch up about about her most recent project directing Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” I was very excited for many reasons.
For starters, Amanda is awesome (did you know that she’s a Million-Mile Flyer and her dog’s name is Queso?) and I had the perfect reason to sit down and do what most 25 year olds do best: BINGE WATCH!
So after watching for hours, I’m happy to report that Queen Sugar is stylistically beautiful and the casting is exceptional, but the best part is that gender and race aren’t the centerpiece of the narrative. The show doesn’t pinpoint the fact that these women are (gasp!) bold characters and it definitely doesn’t say, “wow, they’re bold AND they’re women!” There’s no separation of gender or race with strength and flaws. And honestly, it’s about freaking time.
In fact, labels in general seem to go out the window on this show both onscreen and behind the scenes, which is why it’s no surprise that Amanda was selected to be on Queen Sugar’s incredible director lineup. If you ask her to categorize the type of work she does, she’ll tell you that she’s not going to put herself in a box - she’s going to do everything.
More commercials, more photography, more TV series, more features. More everything.
There’s this crazy societal push that we have to choose a path that’s black and white. We’re either a commercial production company or movie studio. Episodic director or we make features. The paths hardly cross and the lines rarely blur. Until chatting with Amanda, I had never heard someone not only challenge this professional notion but blatantly say that they aren't a label or staying in one particular category.
It’s a liberating statement and she says it with conviction. No convincing, no protesting, just doing.
No wonder Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar’s Executive Producer, has embraced Amanda as one of her protégés and invited her back to Louisiana to direct the mid-season finale.
We’re all proud of Amanda and look forward to watching her episodic debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network this month.
You might wonder what adventure is next, and that’s the exciting part... Amanda is limitless!