Imagine you have a successful career as a copywriter and commercial director. You've made your own films and been in competition at the Sundance Film Festival — twice. And to top it all off, you're a voiceover artist. Still, you’d love to dedicate your time to being a film and television director. Now imagine you finally get called up to the major leagues for your big shot but you just happen to have a broken ankle. Would you have the guts to downplay your injury, show up for the gig and take charge of the situation even though you’re not in tip top shape? Well our most recent interviewee for The Passionistas Project, DeMane Davis did.
When someone from Ava DuVernay’s team asked her to come in to helm an episode of Queen Sugar for OWN, DeMane didn’t mention to the producer that she happened to have the injury. She must have done a great job because the following season, DuVernay asked her to become the Producing Director on the show. Now DeMane oversees the other directors, who all are female, thanks to DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s commitment to building a place for women to thrive.
In our interview, DeMane recounts that one adviser at the time told her, “‘That was probably a really great thing. Think about what that looks like that you’re there on crutches and you’re doing that.”
She carries the experience with her as a constant reminder of what’s capable of doing. “I have logged that in my head that whenever I think that I can’t do something or that something’s insurmountable,” she acknowledged. “I’ll say, ‘No, you directed on crutches so you’re okay… You did that so you can do this.’”
Listen to the latest episode of The Passionistas Project Podcast to hear about DeMane Davis’ incredible journey. And tune in to Queen Sugar on OWN every Wednesday night at 9 pm/10 pm Central.