Ava DuVernay’s advice for filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds is as blunt as you’d expect: ”You gotta follow the white guys. Truly. They’ve got this thing wired.” 

The “Selma” director said as much during her keynote address at the 2015 BlogHer conference in New York City last weekend. The conference, which brings together women and feminist digital media personalities, featured DuVernay as one of the closing speakers. 

DuVernay added that women and people of color pursuing entertainment careers should diversify their work and be tenacious about getting what they want:

Women have been trained in our culture and society to ask for what we want instead of taking what we want. We’ve been really indoctrinated with this culture of permission. I think it’s true for women, and I think it’s true for people of color. It’s historic, and it’s unfortunate and has somehow become part of our DNA. But that time has passed…

…Diversify—I’ve been in a lot of rooms lately, and all these fancy people who are really killing it, no one has all her eggs in one basket.”

DuVernay is currently helming the new OWN series “Queen Sugar,” as well as the upcoming CBS drama “For Justice.” 

(H/t The Hollywood Reporter)