I haven’t been on-board with much of the featured programming on the, Oprah Winfrey Network, however I must say she got it right with, Queen Sugar. The dramatic series is based on a novel of the same name and centers around the estranged Bordelon family. Based in Louisiana, the post Katrina and present Black Lives Matter tone of the show brings to the forefront everyday struggles of the poor and under-represented African American communities in the south. Incorporating not just the racial and social economics of present day America, but reaching far back into the past, into long ago generations and reviving a rich Afrocentric culture that has largely fallen by the wayside. It’s a beautifully raw, messy, romantic and poignant show.
When Ernest Bordelon (Glynn Turman) unexpectedly passes away, his children, Nova, Charley and Ralph Angel are pulled from their very separate lives to come together for the first time in years. As far as siblings go, they could not be more different from one another.
Living the high life in Los Angeles, Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), is a straight up BOSS. Married to an NBA all-star and mother to a teenage son (Nicholas L. Ashe), she isn’t content to just live the fabulous life of a professional star basketball players wife. She has a sharp mind and isn't afraid to use it making lucrative business deals and running her family business, which until her father passes away, centered on her husband, Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett). That all goes to hell when a scandal erupts around what she believed was a perfect life.
Nova Bordelon (Rutina Wesley), is an award winning New Orleans journalist whose writing focuses on socioeconomic and racial injustice. From episode one there is no doubt she is a disrupter of the system and a force to be reckoned with. A smart, engaged community activist, Nova is far from a character that walks a straight line through life. She’s a contradiction, a healer, a homegirl, a romantic and so much more. A very delicious character for Wesley to sink her teeth into. (See what I did right there?)
And then there’s the youngest Bordelon sibling, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe). Not nearly as accomplished as his older sister’s but in some ways wiser about life than either of them. A single father and felon on parole, he’s made some serious wrong turns in his life. Before the death of his father he was well on his way to a being a better man. However, being a black man on parole in a struggling economy, not to mention a single father AND living in the south, Ralph Angel is walking a very fine line on his road to redemption. The death of his father pushes the pressures of his life more in the immediate foreground. It's swim or sink time now.
In his last known Will, Ernest, bequeathed his sugar farm equally among his three children. They could either keep it, run it together, or they could sell it. In the end, for various (and super scandalous) reasons, they decide to give running the farm a go. For the first time in years all of the Bordelon siblings are living in the same city at the same time. What could go wrong?
Aside from each sibling's contending personal dramas, there is an old, dirty, white, racist cloud brewing known as the Landrys and the Boudreaux's. Their shenanigans could derail the potential success of the Bordelon farm and destroy a major opportunity for the black farming community in the process. A lot is at stake. The Landry's and Boudreaux’s are an old family with deep roots in the community and have an economic monopoly on the farming community. Their connection to the Bordelon family goes waaaaay back and is steeped in blood, murder and slavery. Their feud is far deeper and more violent than any Hatfield or McCoy. The Bordelon’s are in for a very rough ride and I for one will be watching.
The second season of Queen Sugar is now airing, Tuesday night on OWN.