By Eartha Watts-Hicks, Harlem World Magazine, editor-in-chief
September 25th, the cast of Queen Sugar shared salacious details of 16 episodes sure to be a season-long roller coaster ride. Directed by activist, pioneer filmmaker, Julie Dash, the upcoming 2-episode, season premier of Queen Sugar on OWN, airs October 3rd and 4th, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Omar Dorsey portrays Hollywood Desonier, the much younger boyfriend in a May-December relationship with Violet, matron of the family. Hollywood Desonier’s characterization transcends conventional depictions in that he is strong, loving, supportive, and gets the job done. “I was so excited about this role because Ava told me that she wrote this role for me. I was used to auditioning and being the bad guy on screen or the funny guy. Everyone wants to be the champion.”
Dawn-Lyen Gardner, mentioned she loves being able to take on a role that so closely resembles herself, and even addressing the complexities of being biracial. The show creates necessary dialogue about complex issues, such as colorism. And this season, Sharon Lawrence is introduced, as Charley’s mother.
Kofi Siriboe who portrays Ralph Angel, spoke on the limited number of available, diversified roles. The nuances of who African Americans are and the various societal roles filled by African Americans are not reflected. “I am a hard working black actor. I don’t see myself on TV,” says Kofi, He continues “Not on Entourage or any other show. It’s up to us to expand what we can do. I credit Donald Glover, Ava Duvernay, Issa Rae, and Charles Murray with expanding the minds of others to create something meaningful. We now have to bust the trends.” This season viewers are especially eager to find out more about Darla and her background and why Ralph Angel is intent on marrying her. The character Nova Bordelon, exudes confidence. However, Rutina Wesley the actress admits filming the scene where a racist, sexist character spat in her face was most difficult. But because it sold him in his depiction as despicable, she felt it was absolutely necessary for viewers to actually see this action as real and not an edit. That scene had to be filmed twice.
All four cast members admitted to being feminist regardless of their gender. They also seemed to agree, that while the dialogue of women in film and television seems to be limited to love and romance, on Queen Sugar, there’s more to the conversations here. There’s war, money, family, legacy, ambitions. They want to give young people hope and unanimously applaud Queen Sugar’s all-women team of writers and directors.
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Great story, great characters, Queen Sugar introduces viewing audiences to all the grit and familiarity of what it is really like to be black, and strong, and vulnerable in America. And, as best stated by Rutina Wesley, “The beauty is in the chaos.”
‘Queen Sugar‘ airs on OWN on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Eartha Watts Hicks is editor-in-chief of Harlem World Magazine, member of The Harlem Writers Guild and author/publisher of Love Changes. www.earthatone.com. Connect @Earthatone.