“Queen Sugar” tells the story of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Louisiana. At the center of the family are Nova, a journalist and activist; Charley, the wife and manager of an NBA player; and formerly incarcerated father Ralph Angel, who is searching for redemption. Following a tragedy in the family, the siblings must put their complicated lives aside so that they can come together to run the clan’s struggling sugar cane farm. Also involved in the farm are Aunt Violet and family friend Remy Newell.”
Queen Sugar is the newest addition to evening time television on Oprah Winfrey’s Network (OWN) Wednesday night. The show debuted last week with a two day 2 hour premiere. The show is captivating audiences from north to south. It follows the lives of the Bordelon siblings, the oldest sibling, Nova played by Rutina Wesley of “True Blood”; Charley played by Dawn-Lyen Gardner of “Unforgettable” and the youngest sibling Ralph Angel played by 22
Queen Sugar is based on the novel written by Natalie Baszile. She wrote the novel over the course of 11 years and it was published in 2014. Baszile stated, “As I started to write Queen Sugar, especially in the late ‘90s … all of these great diverse stories that I had grown up on and was inspired by, started to disappear. All of a sudden you saw a very, very narrow portrayal of the African-American experience on the bookshelf. All of a sudden the only thing you saw were titles like The Bitch Is Back or Stackin’ Paper, and there’d be a picture of a woman, scantily clad, on the hood of a car.”
Director Ava Duvernay, who was the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for movie “Selma”, brought Queen Sugar to life with a diverse and seven woman directors. The cast is predominately black as well. Something that is difficult to do Duvernay is breaking directing barriers with “badass woman”. She is fostering a playing field for woman directors to be pronounced as a recent report of the Directors Guild stated only 17 percent of television episodes were directed by women in the 2015-2016 television seasons. An Increase from 16 percent the previous season, the numbers were bleaker when it came to women directors of color who accounted for just three percent of the more than 4,000 episodes analyzed in the report”
The series opening scene is of Nova and her white, married lover dressing her. “Her [Ava] sex scenes look damn sexy,” says Winfrey. The show is not stereotypical in portraying African American’s in a negative light. However the show does depict real issues. The youngest sibling Ralph Angel has trouble with the law but he is a great father and does what he can to provide for his family. The middle sibling Charlie is well to do financially but deals with real family and marital issues. Queen Sugar talks about the race, class and what happens when these two collide. The show cleanses the soul, with its down south setting, family messages and depiction of getting worse before things get better.
When Queen Sugar debuted last Tuesday, it became the second-highest-rated premiere in the OWN’s history. Coming in second to “Greenleaf” that premiered June 2016, which featured an appearance from Oprah Winfrey herself.
Tune in to OWN every Wednesday at 10 pm EST for a dose of Queen Sugar.
Staff Writer; Amber Ogden
One may also view more of her work over at; AmberOgden.com.