Ava DuVernay Becomes the First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry's Pint with New Caramel Flavor

Ava DuVernay Becomes the First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint with New Caramel Flavor
Ava DuVernay Becomes the First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint with New Caramel Flavor

Ben & Jerry’s

Ava DuVernay has a new directorial role — but it's not for the big screen!

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker, 50, "directed" her very own ice cream flavor with Ben & Jerry's,  making her the first Black woman to ever grace the brand's pints.

The flavor — Lights! Caramel! Action! — is made of vanilla ice cream with salted caramel and graham cracker swirls and pieces of chocolate chip cookie dough. Available in both dairy and non-dairy almond milk versions, the ice cream will start shipping nationwide in January 2023.

The reasoning behind DuVernay's flavor combo is simple. "Because I love them and I eat them in real life. First of all, chocolate chip cookie dough. What more needs to be said?" she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Advancing representation is a huge reason why DuVernay teamed up with the ice cream brand to make her own pint. "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," she says.

She adds: "I'm not taking it too seriously, but I do think that it's important to walk through doors that have not been opened. 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," she continues. "And so I'm glad that they've done it. And if I can support that, I'm happy to do it."

RELATED: Ava DuVernay Says Little Richard Tipped Her $100 Every Week When She Was a Waitress: 'Helped Me So Much'

Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint
Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint

Ben & Jerry’s

DuVernay says Lights! Caramel! Action! is "so much more than a delicious dessert."

Proceeds from the sales will go to her non-profit, ARRAY Alliance, that "looks at creating equitable systems in the entertainment industry."

Even the name of her Ben & Jerry's treat is rooted in her commitment to making a change.

"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," she says. "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."

RELATED: Ben & Jerry's and Chance the Rapper Join Forces on a New Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Flavor

Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint
Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint

Ben & Jerry’s

RELATED: Ben & Jerry's Announces New Limited 'Cherry Crumble' Ice Cream Flavor

When it comes to the nitty gritty of actually developing the flavor, DuVernay says "they let me direct the ice cream." Since she doesn't normally cook, this was her chance to experiment with food. "I have a big sweet tooth. I don't smoke, and I don't drink. My vice is sweets," she says. "I've always loved Ben and Jerry's and I didn't just want to put my name on something that they already had."

So she worked with food chemists to craft her perfect pint.

Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint
Ava DuVernay Says She’s ‘Happy’ to be a ‘Part of Change’ as First Black Woman on a Ben & Jerry’s Pint

Ben & Jerry’s

"To actually see them doing their work and talking about combinations of things and how flavors work together, it was a fascinating process for someone who's really interested in the way things work," she says. "From the packaging to the colors used on the packaging, to the way the flavors came together — they allowed me to be involved in every step in a way that I was leading these moments, leading the work, which I'm used to, because that's my job. So I enjoyed it."

Ultimately, Ben & Jerry's social justice-forward mission is what also drew the director to the partnership.

"I just have always respected their voice. You can just sell ice cream or you can sell ice cream and actually put a message on these packages and let people know what you believe in and what you stand for," she says. "But it's really rare to have a brand that is not afraid to have a political, cultural, social point of view. And that's been the bedrock of the brand from the beginning. It's the bedrock of everything that I do. So it felt like a really happy marriage and it's been really lovely."