Ava DuVernay Aims for 'Normalization' Over 'Representation' in Naomi

The CW's new DCTV show Naomi is less about representation and more about normalization, according to series developer, co-writer and co-executive producer Ava DuVernay.

As Abbie Bernstein pointed out during a Naomi press event attended by CBR, DuVernay is known for her work on film and television projects that deal with the subjects of race and civil rights, such as the 2014 film Selma and the 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us. Bernstein asked DuVernay if similar themes would be tackled in Naomi, be it overtly or metaphorically.

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"Yes, they're going to be dealt with through a new innovation that we're working with. It's called normalization, right? It's not about representation, it's about normalization," DuVernay replied. "So we're doing really muscular things as it relates to race and gender and class, but we're doing it by playing it normal. Like it's just a part of the everyday. And I say it kiddingly, but it is real."

DuVernay elaborated, "The more that you can portray images without underlining them, highlighting them and putting a star next to them, that show a different kind of hero, right? That center on a Black girl, that centers different kinds of folks, right? Um, we start to make that normal and that's a radical revolutionary thing. So yes, that is, it's in there deep in the fabric of the quilt."

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The CW's Naomi is based on the DC comic book series of the same name created by writers Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker and artist Jamal Campbell. Naomi was first published under DC's Bendis-curated Wonder Comics imprint in early 2019. The comic follows Naomi McDuffie, named for late Milestone Media co-founder Dwayne McDuffie, who himself was known for pushing for greater diversity inclusion in comics, co-creating such characters as Static (Shock), Icon and Hardware. Also known as Powerhouse, Naomi herself is a multiversal superhero with energy-based powers.

In The CW's Naomi, the lead character is portrayed by Kaci Walfall. The series premiered its first episode -- written by DuVernay alongside Jill Blankenship -- on The CW tonight, Jan. 11. The show follows "the journey of a cool, confident, comic book-loving teenager as she pursues her hidden destiny."

RELATED: Naomi's Camila Moreno Introduces Her Bold New Character to the DC Universe

Naomi airs Tuesdays on The CW.

Source: The CW

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Noah E. Dominguez is a jr. news editor at Comic Book Resources who joined the site as a writer in the summer of 2018. He has also written for sites like WhatCulture and Gaming Access Weekly (formerly Gamer Assault Weekly), and holds a degree in mass communication. What will he do next? Stay tuned. You can follow him on Twitter at @NoahDominguez_

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