Director Euzhan Palcy became the first Black woman to direct a movie from a major studio. Starring Donald Sutherland, Marlon Brando, Susanne Sarandon and Zakes Mokae, A Dry White Season provided audiences with a searing critique of apartheid in South Africa. The film netted Brando an Oscar nomination, and on November 19, 2022, the Martinique-born director was honored at the 13th Annual Governors Awards in Los Angeles. Via The Hollywood Reporter:

Viola Davis introduced Palcy, praising her career of “speaking truth to power.” “I’ll try not to use the word ‘first’ too many times,” Davis said, before ticking off Palcy’s achievements. “You did not defend your Blackness, you did not defend your womanhood,” Davis said, addressing Palcy. “You used it as warrior fuel.”

Palcy acknowledged two young female film students from Martinique whom she had brought to the event, telling the audience she wanted them to, “Go back home and explain to the other kids how it was, who they met.”

She said over the years she had grown weary of being considered a pioneer. “I was so tired of hearing praise for being the first of too many firsts but denied the chance to make the movies I wanted to make,” Palcy said. “I was not behind the camera doing what God put me on earth to do.”

Of why she kept her silence, Palcy said she had grown tired of hearing from studios that Black and female was not bankable: “Black is bankable. Female is bankable. Black and female is bankable. My stories are universal.”