Ava DuVernay Hopes to Break Down Cultural Barriers With New Reality Show 'Home Sweet Home' (Exclusive)

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© ET

Ava DuVernay has put her stamp on a new reality TV project, Home Sweet Home.

The Oscar-nominated director executive produces the series, which sees 18 families from all different cultural backgrounds swapping houses to see how others live. As DuVernay told ET’s Kevin Frazier, she created Home Sweet Home in hopes to show how we just might be more alike than we imagined.

“The core of Home Sweet Home is curiosity,” DuVernay explained. “The idea is, if you can have dinner in someone’s home, if you can walk a mile in their shoes and sleep a night in their bed, what would you find? More similarities? More differences?”

“We’re not saying that we should all have a ‘hold your hands, kumbaya moment.’ That’s not the point of this,” she continued. “The point of this is respect difference, celebrate difference, understand difference. and if we can do that we can come to a place of understanding.”

Inspiration for the project came to DuVernay during the pandemic, thinking about who she welcomed into her home while in quarantine.

“Seventy-six percent of Americans have never been in the home of someone outside of their dominant identity,” she stated. “Until I was an adult in college I’d never been inside the home of a white family and had dinner.”

The show is meant to show a positive side of people coming together and learning about their cultures and lives. No drama. No conflict. Just learning and appreciating.

“I think the question is, ‘Is this what people want right now?’ I would hope it is,” she said. “But it remains to be seen. It was really important for me that this be on a network that was free to everyone because I want to make sure that the widest possible swab of people could enjoy it and learn from it.”

As for what she learned from creating the show and watching these families interact? “I learned so much,” DuVernay acknowledged. “I learned so much about terms, language, customs, ways of being [and] challenged my own assumptions.”

“Our homes are where we can be most ourselves,” she continued, adding that she hopes by being in someone else’s home there is a “deeper understanding of one another.”

Home Sweet Home airs Fridays on NBC.

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