Queen Sugar has premiered with a bang and the first season already looks promising. For those who missed the two-night premiere, the first episode titled, “First Things First,” began with a glimpse into the lives of three siblings — Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), Nova (Rutina Wesley), and Ralph Angel (Kiri Siriboe) — hailing from the Big Easy, New Orleans, LA.
Their ailing father, Ernest (Glynn Turman), struggles to run his sugar cane farm but manages to keep things afloat. The episode begins with their sister, Nova, a newspaper journalist, entangled in a secret love affair with a New Orleans police officer. Although her life seems relatively drama free, her story line appears to be the calm before a storm later down the line.
Then there’s Ralph Angel, their younger brother who has faced legal woes in the past. Ralph Angel’s world centers around his young son, who he relentlessly protects from his ex. The boy’s mother, a drug addict, is quite inconsistent when it comes to caring for their son. So, he’s constantly put in the position of having to play the part of both parents. Meanwhile, across the country in Los Angeles, CA, their eldest sister Charley Bordelon West is living the life most would only dream of.
She and her husband, fictitious NBA star Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett), are the parents of one son, Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe). They have what most would consider a storybook relationship.
Charley had just been given the opportunity to star in a reality series similar to Basketball Wives, but when scandal rocks their perfect marriage, their lives come crashing down. Davis finds himself at the center of controversy due to a rape scandal he initially denied being involved with. However, hotel surveillance footage proved otherwise.
When the disturbing footage was released to the public, Charley and Davis’ fairy-tale marriage became a nightmare. Davis, who was caught on camera carrying a drugged woman into a hotel room with several other star teammates, is now facing the possibility of rape charges.
Then, Charley receives a daunting call from her siblings in reference to her father’s health. By the time she arrives, he’s already passed. Now, the three of them are left to pick up the pieces.
But, how easy can that be when all three siblings are on different paths in life; only forced to co-exist due to the disheartening circumstances they’re faced with? As the season unfolds, many questions will be answered.
In episode two, titled “Evergreen,” the three siblings prepare for their father’s funeral. However, planning the funeral comes with a number of disagreements and blow-ups due to the strained dynamic between Charley and Nova. While Charley focuses on getting things done with no thought about the costs, Nova is more concerned with carrying on family traditions and doing the work without outsiders. So, as the season progresses, the personality differences are bound to create more friction.
Queen Sugar creator Ava DuVernay recently revealed what viewers can expect from the series. Although it’s a bit different from most drama series, the story line will definitely carry the show.
“I love good family dramas,” said DuVernay. “Not super plot-driven, but character-driven stories. And I thought, ‘Gosh, I wish I could see that with some black folk.'”
She went on to discuss the melodramatic moments that will serve as pivotal points in the series. Based on DuVernay’s perspective, it looks like Queen Sugar could be around for quite some time. She’s revealed there’s already talk about ideas for Season 4.
“Most people aren’t going to walk out of a theater, but it’s really easy for them to turn to another channel,” she noted. “I knew there had to be heightened moments which are probably bigger than I usually do. I had to find the humanity within the more melodramatic moments, and it was important to find actors that could bring reality to situations that might otherwise feel hyper-real,” she added. “But I’m really married to this project.”
She continued, “I have story ideas for Season 4!”
To many viewers, the start of Queen Sugar may have seemed relatively slow, but ratings and reviews prove the slow burn may be worthwhile. As the weeks progress, it’s probably safe to say the story line will intensify with a number of twists and turns that will leave viewers speechless.
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