The poignant and heartfelt drama, “Queen Sugar” on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), is a powerful depiction of Black culture in America. Illuminating generational wounds of injustice, the show has helped shift national perceptions about equality and social justice. At the height of the COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter, the series has challenged social norms, both on and off the camera.
Based on the novel by Natalie Baszile, “Queen Sugar” was created by Ava DuVernay and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey. The two powerhouses continue to take the world by storm, changing the landscape for women of color in entertainment and how Hollywood perceives them.
The show’s exclusive female directorial lineup has created a phenomenon known as the #AvaEffect. DuVernay’s hand-selection of over 42 emerging female directors, 39 of whom made their directorial debut, amplifies a burgeoning group of talented, yet underrepresented creatives. Her bold and diverse initiative is breaking the glass ceiling in Hollywood and paving the way for future directors.
“Queen Sugar” provokes audiences with an array of emotions that no one is exempt from: love, hate and desire. Set in Louisiana, the drama revolves around the Bordelon family and illustrates what it looks like to confront systemic racism and deep-seated challenges. Their story is a modern portrayal of what it means to be a family in all its facets. The storyline is built upon their father’s sudden death and the estranged Bordelon siblings reuniting to keep their father’s sugarcane farm from crumbling.
Now in its final episode of season six airing Tuesday (11.16.21), “Queen Sugar” is not only a beautiful saga, but also a vehicle for profound connection and conversation. The lyrical story is told by an all-star cast whose chemistry is both dynamic and spiritual. Featured actors include the three Bordelon siblings, played by Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe and Dawn-Lyen Gardner. Rutina Wesley plays eldest sibling Nova Bordelon, a passionate and complex Black Lives Matter activist, journalist and herbalist; Kofi Siriboe plays youngest sibling Ralph Angel, a former convict trying to reinvent his life while navigating his past; and Dawn-Lyen Gardner plays Charley Bordelon West, their half sister. Charley is a master strategist who juggles marital challenges and personal struggles, while trying to restore their father’s legacy, the family sugarcane farm. The cast is rounded out with dynamic performances from Tina Lifford, Nicholas L. Ashe, Omar Dorsey, Bianca Lawson and Ethan Hutchison to name a few.
The intricately woven dichotomies highlight America’s persisting and pervasive history of racism and prejudice, while also exploring themes of love, family and spirituality. At a time when an understanding of equality must be confronted and reimagined,”Queen Sugar” is an eloquent reflection of life and represents a courageous narrative both on and off screen.