By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) - After unveiling its "first Latina" princess last week, Disney now says Jamie Mitchell, the producer of the TV show "Sofia the First," "misspoke" during a press tour and that the title character is not a Latina.
The word comes after questions arose about what made "Sofia the First" culturally relevant and why the media wasn't informed when the show was first announced in 2011.
Backlash for Disney's first Latina princess
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Latino media advocacy organization, met with Nancy Kanter, Disney Junior Worldwide's senior vice president of original programming a general manager, to discuss the impact of "Sofia the First" in the Latino community.
"She shared that Sofia the First is in fact not a Latina character and that the producer of the television program misspoke," NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales said in a statement. "We accept the clarification and celebrate the good news that Disney Junior has an exciting project in early development that does have a Latina as the heroine of the show."
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Editor's note: This interview is part of In America's occasional series "How I Got Here," which looks at the life journeys of notable Americans.
By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN
(CNN) – Ava DuVernay this year became the first African-American woman to win a best directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. She won for "Middle of Nowhere," a drama about a young black woman named Ruby who puts her life on hold while her husband is in prison. The movie opened in theaters this month.
The former aspiring broadcast journalist-turned-publicist overcame fear and ridicule to become an independent filmmaker. Here's the story of how she got there:
CNN: What does it mean to be a black woman filmmaker in 2012?
Ava DuVernay: The films that I make are, you know, directly related to my gaze, which is specifically through the eyes of a black woman. So the framing of the shots in my films, the choices of music, the cadence and rhythm of the editing, all of that I’m very aware is coming through who I am, and I’m a sister.
In saying I’m a black woman; I include all the legacy of my family and all the people that I love.
CNN: You went from being a publicist in the entertainment industry to an acclaimed filmmaker. What drives you?
DuVernay: I think the only thing that drove me is just this idea of forward movement, like never to stay still. I think there’s something very powerful and something amazing to be said (for) momentum. That one thing leads to another.
I think when we sit too long in one place, we get stagnant, and if we just keep moving, even if we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll get somewhere.
CNN: Did you always want to be a filmmaker?
DuVernay: When I was young, I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I wanted to be like Connie Chung.
Maybe in some ways, we kind of are truth-telling, trying to tell stories and news in a different way through the films, but after UCLA, I got an internship at CBS News with Dan Rather and Connie Chung. It was a huge, huge deal. I was on the O.J. Simpson unit. And I was so proud. I had my first little suit, showed up and they said: “OK, this is your assignment.” (They) handed me a package and inside the package was the address of one of the jurors. And they wanted me to sit outside that person’s house and look through the trash.
And I was like: You know, no. I’m not going to do this. So I didn’t. I started looking for another side of the news and fell into publicity. It allowed me to be close to journalists and work with the media but also connect journalists to artists and to films.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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