“Selma” director Ava DuVernay has been getting a lot flack for her film, mainly for the portrayals of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Historians are ripping apart the film and saying that certain scenes in the movie were fabricated, including J. Edgar Hoover’s attempt to blackmail Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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DuVernay has responded to the criticism said that the film and its meaning shouldn’t be “reduced” to minor points made in the film. The fact that blacks did not have the right to vote and the steps taken to have that right should not be overshadowed by minor details.
The director said (from Vulture):
I think everyone sees history through their own lens and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see. This is what I see, this is what we see. And that should be valid. I’m not gonna argue history. I could, but I won’t. I’m just gonna say that my voice, David’s voice, the voice of all the artists that gathered to do this, [and] Paramount Pictures which allows us to amplify this story to the world, [are] really focused on issues of justice and dignity. And for this to be I think reduced—reduced is really what all this is—to one talking point of a small contingent of people who don’t like one thing, I think is unfortunate, because this film is a celebration of people, a celebration of people who gathered to lift their voices, black, white, otherwise, all classes, nationalities, faiths, to do something amazing. And if there’s anything that we should be talking about in terms of legacy, it is really the destruction of the legacy of the Voting Rights Act and the fact that that very act is no more in the way that it should be protecting all voices to be able to be heard and participate in the electoral process. That is at risk right now. There’s been violence done to that act that we chronicle its creation in our film. So I would just invite people to keep their eyes on the prize and really focus on the beautiful positives of the film. And that was our intention.
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