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kottke.org posts about Ava DuVernay

The Beautiful Ones, a Forthcoming Memoir From Prince

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 24, 2019

The Beautiful Ones

Before his death in 2016, Prince had begun work on a memoir about his wonderfully creative life. The Beautiful Ones, due out in October 2019, will incorporate the 50 hand-written pages the artist had completed before he died, along with other writings, personal photos, and handwritten lyric sheets.

The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince — a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain — the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.

The book is being produced in partnership with his estate, which is also behind the forthcoming Netflix documentary series about Prince directed by Ava DuVernay.

The project has the full cooperation of the late artist’s estate, which is providing with interviews, archival footage, photos and archive access. The multiple-part documentary will cover the artist’s entire life.

The book and documentary sound similar…I wonder if they’ll share a title?

Update: In an interview with the LA Times, DuVernay shares that she’s no longer working on the Prince documentary.

She does note she’s no longer working on Netflix’s multipart Prince documentary, saying she had “creative differences” with the company after working for a year on the project. “It just didn’t work out,” she says. “There’s a lot of beautiful material there. I wish them well.”

When They See Us, a Series on the Central Park Five by Ava DuVernay

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 04, 2019

Ava DuVerney has written and directed a four-part TV series called When They See Us that “chronicles the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit”. Here’s a teaser trailer:

The series starts airing on Netflix on May 31.

And if you haven’t seen it, the documentary The Central Park Five (directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon) is excellent.

Music video for Jay-Z’s Family Feud, directed by Ava DuVernay

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 06, 2018

The latest video from Jay-Z’s 4:44 is for Family Feud, directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time).

The Ava DuVernay-directed short film spans more than 400 years, beginning in the year 2444 with a Shakespearean tale of infidelity, politics and murder before working its way backwards through different generations. The video, scored by Flying Lotus, finishes in a church in 2018, with Blue Ivy Carter watching parents Jay Z and Beyonce perform in confessional booths and pulpits.

Besides Jay-Z and his daughter Blue Ivy, the video features Beyonce, Jessica Chastain, Michael B. Jordan, Thandie Newton, Brie Larson, Rosario Dawson, Rashida Jones, and Mindy Kaling.