Ava DuVernay on the Oscars controversy and the crisis in Flint, Mich.

Katie Couric
Global Anchor

By Alex Bregman

Ava DuVernay, the critically acclaimed director of “Selma,” will be in Flint, Mich., this Sunday and will not be attending the Academy Awards. Instead, she’ll joined in Flint by a group of artists to lend their voices to the #JUSTICEFORFLINT concert and event. DuVernay spoke to Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric on “Yahoo News Live” to talk about the event and the need to raise awareness around the water crisis in Flint. She also discussed the fact that it’s happening on the same night as an Oscar Sunday where, for a second year in a row, all 20 acting nominations went to white actors and actresses.

On the date of the event, DuVernay said, “I guess I can see how people are making the connection, but we didn’t have anything to do that night. We were free. We are basically saying on this night, there are other things going on around issues of justice and dignity.”

Ryan Coogler, director of the Academy Award-nominated film, “Creed,” singer Janelle Monae, actor Jesse Williams, and comedian Hannibal Burress will also be joining DuVernay in Flint. On the purpose of the event, she said: “This is a trauma that has been going on there for several years now. We want to continue to shed a light and amplify the voices on the ground there in Flint. We are bringing in some of our friends, to come and perform for a night of empowerment and enlightenment and community-building and togetherness. It’s free for them, but we are asking people who watch on the live stream at revolt.tv.com to donate. Those funds will go to the people of Flint.”

DuVernay agreed with director Michael Moore, who is from Flint and called the crisis a “racial crime.” DuVernay told Couric: “I think its environmental racism, absolutely. We wouldn’t have seen this problem if this was in a community with more voice.”

Couric also asked DuVernay about the state of the 2016 race for the White House and the rhetoric around the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. She told Couric: “The rhetoric right now [from] that particular candidate, feels particularly violent. I’m really still not accepting of it.” She continued, “but I really do believe that unless we can get folks who believe in the humanity and the basic dignity of people, we’ll continue to have issues like Flint, issues like Ferguson, like Selma and Oakland, Compton, and so many communities of color around this country.”

Couric asked the “Selma” director if she’s supporting Sec. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders. She said, “You know, I’m still listening and still trying to gather all the information. … Whoever one decides, everyone should pick someone. It’s important to exercise that right, because people died for it.”

Finally, Couric asked about the recent news that DuVernay will be directing the film adaptation of the children’s classic “A Wrinkle in Time.” She responded, “It’s a story about a bad-ass girl … a bad-ass girl who is discovering herself and travels the whole world to find herself. So what’s better than that? That’s pretty awesome.”