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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay Becomes First Black Woman to Get Her Own Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay will be selling ice cream. She has partnered with Ben & Jerry’s for her very own flavor, Lights! Caramel! Action! The flavor will start shipping nationwide in January, and she reportedly becomes the first Black woman to get her own Ben & Jerry’s flavor.

Ava DuVernay with her Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Lights! Caramel! Action! (Photo: Ben & Jerry’s)

The director’s flavor, which will bear her face on the pint, contains vanilla ice cream with salted caramel, graham cracker swirls, and pieces of chocolate chip cookie dough.

“Because I love them and I eat them in real life. First of all, chocolate chip cookie dough. What more needs to be said?” asked DuVernay, the first Black woman to helm a movie — “A Wrinkle In Time” — with a budget of over $100 million.

“Beyond being downright delicious, proceeds from Lights! Caramel! Action! will help ARRAY Alliance further its non-profit mission of inclusion and belonging in the film and TV industries,” DuVernay said in a press statement. “A worthy and delicious endeavor.”

The partnership is all for charity.

The proceeds from the sales will go to her nonprofit, ARRAY Alliance, a woman-led nonprofit organization and independent film grant that distributes art that furthers the impact on social justice for women.

A pint of Ben & Jerry’s is usually around $5.49. According to Statista, with unit sales of approximately 282 million annually, Ben & Jerry’s was the leading brand of ice cream in the U.S. in 2022.

Lights! Caramel! Action!

DuVernay’s ice cream has the potential to be one of Ben and Jerry’s top sellers, as many of the ingredients are some of the most well-received, according to Ben and Jerry’s. 

Stephen Colbert’s American Dream, Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Dough, and Cherry Garcia, a pun for late rock star Jerry Garcia, are three of the top flavors out of 10 that bear a celebrity name. 

Lights! Caramel! Action! will have a non-dairy version made with almond milk.

As far as the name, the filmmaker had an explanation-and, not for reasons one might think.

“When I thought of [the name], of ‘action’ — that’s what we’re asking people to take. Whether it’s you’re deciding what you want to consume in the way of ice cream, how you feel when you walk out of a film and actually taking action. And not just letting it entertain you, but rising to the challenge of what the story might reveal about history, about people. The whole word, ‘action,’ and the idea of it, is a big one for me in my life. Social action, social justice and ice cream,” she told People magazine.

Besides her love of chocolate chip cookie dough, the 50-year-old Emmy Award-winner and Oscar nominee’s choice of the name derives from her message; everyone needs to take action.

Making Ice Cream History

“There’s no women of color overall [on Ben & Jerry’s pints]. And so they understood that that’s something that they wanted to change, and I’m happy that I was able to be involved in being a part of that change. I’m not taking it too seriously, but I do think that it’s important to walk through doors that have not been opened,” DuVernay said. “And it’s not an accomplishment because someone has closed the door and then opened it. It is an action that needs to be taken. And so I’m glad that they’ve done it. And if I can support that, I’m happy to do it.”

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