She directed one of the biggest tearjerkers of 2014 but filmmaker Ava DuVernay admits she cried while watching the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The Selma director offloaded her thoughts on the critically acclaimed picture during a lengthy Twitter rant, also recalling her memories of the 1980s hip hop movement and gang culture.
After watching the movie, directed by F Gary Gray and executive produced by N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr Dre, DuVernay heaped praise on the biopic and credited the "beautiful and invested" audience. She explained: "Invested because many of them, like me, were there. Teens at the very time and in the very place depicted on screen. It had better be right.
"I saw the cavalier way that women were treated in hip hop spaces early on. Window dressing at most. Disposable at worst. Yep, that happened. I was in the street during the Rodney King Uprising. After that unjust verdict. Feeling anger. And community. And fire. And love. Happened."
DuVernay, who was born in Long Beach but grew up in Compton, California where N.W.A. were founded, added: "I remember the truce. So when that shot of red and blue bandanas tied together flashed on screen? Wild applause in my theater. It happened. The music of my youth and how it came to be and why it was what it was. We rapped along, clapped, laughed, cried. For all that has happened."
Applauding Friday director Gray for his depiction of social issues at the time the legendary rap group rose from the streets of Compton to chart success, DuVernay said: "All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us. @FGaryGray captured it. He captured the plight of the black artist in general, once consumed by systems and structures not made for them. The struggle is real."
The 42-year-old then describes how she was particularly moved by one sequence which showed how the Compton community came together in unity on Sundays. The director explained: "But for all the terrific acting, solid production design, swoon-worthy cinematography and fab costumes + hair, one sequence brought a tear.
"Sunday on the 'Shaw. I can't tell you what it was, what it felt like. You had to be there. @FGaryGray gets you as close as you'll ever get." She added: "It was maybe a one-minute sequence in the film but it all came rushing back. This film did that for me on multiple levels. It's fantastic."
DuVernay's tweets come just days after her friend Oprah Winfrey asked if she had seen the movie before engaging in a Twitter debate with another user who slammed N.W.A.'s "misogynistic" lyrics. Straight Outta Compton opened to a triumphant start on 14 August, taking in $56.1m (£35.9m) at the US box office.