Cannes Lions: As She Preps Megan Thee Stallion Doc, Nneka Onuorah Explains Why It’s Crucial for Directors to Attend Ad Fest

The intersection of advertising and entertainment is front and center at this week’s advertising festival, the Cannes Lions, and as she preps a documentary about Megan Thee Stallion, award-winning director and producer Nneka Onuorah said it’s crucial for filmmakers to make the trek to ensure their work is represented accurately.

“I came to the Lions to do a lot of panels to talk about television, diversity. Inclusion, intersectionality and LGBQTIA+ in the intersection of all of it,” she told TheWrap. “I’m Black, a woman, I’m queer, I’m a director in film and a lot of my work gets highly publicized and advertised.”

Onuorah won a Primetime Emmy for outstanding directing work on a reality show for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” and on Monday she was a speaker at an Empower Cafe panel called “Celebrating LGBTQAI+ Trailblazers and Their Legacy of Authenticity.”

“As a director, it’s very important for me to intersect with advertising people, not only because they are the people that help get our work into the world, but because we want to make sure there are accurate depictions of our work in the world,” she explained. “So having direct conversations with advertisers about what that looks like. Also bringing our stories to the forefront for people that look like me is important. I need to be a part of these conversations, as someone who is a person of color and queer.”

She is currently completing a Megan Thee Stallion docuseries with Time Studios and Jay Z’s Roc Nation. The documentary will delve into the artist’s upbringing in Texas and follow important milestones in her life.

“We don’t have a title yet. But it will be out soon,” she said while declining to give more details.

Rap stars are big news at Cannes Lions this year. A number of rap stars are speakers, including Queen Latifah.

“It’s what’s so great about the Cannes Lions,” she said. “You get so many different people here from different industries. I love that Cannes Lions is doing great with bringing people of color here, but I want to see more.”

Speaking at the panel on Monday, Onuorah added, “There’s not a lot of accurate depiction of LGBTQIA people on screen. In real life a lot of us are thriving, but there is a common monolithic and sad depiction of these characters.”

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