Last week, Oprah hosted a three-day celebration in Maui in honor of her dear friend Ava DuVernay’s 50th birthday. Today, we’re taking you through the first day of the festivities. Check back later this week for more info!
Living another year is a big deal at any age—but as esteemed director and writer Ava DuVernay did last week, honoring your half-century is extra special. Oprah celebrated her dear friend’s 50th birthday with a three-day celebration that was nothing short of breathtaking.
DuVernay is known for projects like this Selmadisney a wrinkle in timeand sugar queen, these are her projects with Oprah. Their deep friendship began nearly a decade ago.when Oprah was filming Lee Daniels housekeeper in 2012, Her partner David Oyelowo recommended her to watch a film called the wilderness, Director DuVernay. “Then I googled the director of the film because I hadn’t heard of Ava DuVernay at the time,” Oprah said. “This beautiful picture is of this lovely black woman who’s wearing the same clothes as I do. Glasses. I think, I want to be her friend.“
Oprah was so impressed with her work that she made a plan to meet DuVernay. “I ended up hosting an entire Mother’s Day brunch at my house so I could invite her,” Oprah shared. “Then we started Selma And really became friends. “
After nearly a decade of friendship, Oprah wanted to go all out to commemorate DuVernay’s milestone birthday. From gift bags filled with some of Lady O’s favorite items to DuVernay’s moving speech at the launch, find out about the first day of festivities here.
Oprah has always said that love is in the details, and her respect for her friends is shown in the care and attention to every element of the event, starting with the welcome gifts that await guests upon their arrival on Tuesday, August 23rd. Attendees found a Loro Piana suitcase striped bag (made from linen and cotton with soft leather handles) on the bed in their respective rooms, filled with some of Oprah’s “most delightful favorites” . In true Maui fashion, the welcome note in each bag begins with “Aloha” and goes on to explain important Covid protocols, including daily testing.
These goodies include products from Dr. Barbara Sturm’s skincare line, including travel kits and product sets. “Their foaming cleanser removes all the makeup, and then their enzymatic cleanser does a deep clean,” Oprah told us. Products like Dr. Barbara Strum’s luminous drops are perfect for days when you want to go without makeup, Lady O adds.
Also included in the women’s handbag is Saltee Sunscreen and Olivia Von Halle Pink Satin Sleeping Mask. The male guests were greeted by a Paul Smith backpack and a black Olivia Von Halle satin sleeping mask. “I love letting the sun wake me up, but when I don’t, I love Olivia Von Halle’s cute sleeping masks,” says Oprah, who is also a fan of the brand’s jumpsuits.
Some of these items are meant to be used during R&R (Recreation and Relaxation) on the itinerary. Oprah is particularly excited about the Beysis water bottle: “Because we’re going to offer hikes for people, I’m always looking for the perfect water bottle,” she says. She found one that was “slickest” and engraved each guest’s name on their bottle. Guests who like the perfect blend of style and comfort in casual and beachwear will be thrilled to find Roam slippers and colorful beach aprons from the Natalie Martin collection in handbags.
When Oprah celebrated her 50th birthday, everyone invited to the luncheon gave her a card with a personalized birthday message. “Language is important, and when you have a thoughtful opportunity to say how you feel about someone, and then you write it down and give it to them, they always remember,” Oprah said. She wanted to recreate this heartfelt idea, so each guest received a woven basket with an envelope and a note card on which they could write their personal message to DuVernay.
That evening, DuVernay’s festivities kicked off with cocktails and dinner at sunset at the Four Seasons Resort on Maui in Wailea. When guests arrived at the event, they were greeted by intricate garlands of various colors.
While the costumes were technically “island-comfortable,” the crowd, and of course the guest of honor, looked especially radiant. DuVernay stunned him in a bright neon-yellow suit. The close friendship between DuVernay and actress Niecy Nash is evident in playful moments when Nash encourages the director to show more skin.
“I like it, but you don’t need that vest,” Nash said humorously. DuVernay then explained that she tried a yellow suit without a tank top, but decided against a more nude look. “I looked in the mirror and I thought, no,” DuVernay said, while the guests laughed. “She’d love me giving me a lot of legs,” DuVernay told Oprah Daily. “Whenever I go out with her, she’s like, ‘Oh my God.'”
DuVernay’s family attended several evenings with her mother Darlene and her brothers Kris and Nic and her sisters Jina, Laschica and Tera. Gayle King and her daughter Kirby Bumpus are also involved.
The director, screenwriter, and actor who made waves on Broadway, Coleman Domingo, will appear in the upcoming film Purple The movie, leading everyone to pray and bless the meal. The delicious menu pays homage to Maui’s unique food traditions, including Honey Kiawe rolls, grilled pineapple and Pipikaula salad, and decadent chocolate tarts and macadamia truffles for dessert.
The unforgettable evening was made more joyful when DuVernay addressed her close friends and family, sharing what their presence meant to her. “I might lose it, so I won’t,” DuVernay reflected. “I’m going to put it all together and say I’m asking God, ‘What have I done to get these people from all the places you’ve done to come together to be with me? What have I done to deserve one? The friend who made this moment for all of us? So I don’t know what I did, but maybe he’ll tell me. I’ll listen, and I’ll always be here to thank you and thank you forever for that.”
The rave really kicked off when the guests came to the dance floor to do the electric slides and rock the slow “this is how we do it”. The band was able to bring the perfect Hawaiian flair to classic songs.
When night falls, the sky lights up with a performance of fire dancers, the perfect end to the night, heralding more fun to come.
Stay tuned for more exclusive details on the rest of the festivities.Tomorrow we’ll take you on a tour of the exciting party that marks DuVernay actual Birthdays, Oprah’s speeches, and what brought the guest of honor to tears.
Cailey Griffin (she/she) is an editorial assistant to the General Manager of Oprah Daily News. In addition to assisting the general manager, she also writes for The Oprah Daily News. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University. She interned at NBC News’ 60 Minutes and her work has appeared in Foreign Policy magazine. Outside of Oprah’s Daily, she can be found running around Harlem or listening to a sinister soundtrack on repeat.