By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
The series, which was just picked up for a sixth season ahead of the season five return, has been lauded for its powerful portrayal of an African-American family in the Deep South and for Ava DuVernay’s continued hiring of women directors. Season five was helmed entirely by three filmmakers, including producing director Lauren Wolkstein, Lisa France and Cierra Glaude.
During the production stop-down in 2020 due to COVID-19, DuVernay decided to completely revamp the season five storyline to address the very real issues our country was facing through the lens of the beloved Bordelon family and the fictional community of St. Josephine. DuVernay reconceived the character arcs and storylines, writing alongside returning showrunner Anthony Sparks and supervising producer Norman Vance to tackle head on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protest movement that swept the country, and corruption in politics to showcase the specific impact and ramifications these issues have on communities and people of color.
From award-winning filmmaker DuVernay (16-time Emmy nominated “When They See Us” and romance anthology series “Cherish the Day” for OWN), the contemporary drama “Queen Sugar” features the Bordelon family who are fighting to save their family farm to preserve their father’s legacy while navigating their own personal journeys. In season five, Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains thick in the battle with the Landry family as she uses the system of local government to protect the community and the farmers who own land, while coming to terms with her son Micah (Nicholas Ashe) as he navigates his freshman year at Xavier University, an HBCU.
Nova (Rutina Wesley) launches her new website to support the community while moving out of the Ninth Ward and settles into her romantic relationship with Calvin (Greg Vaughn). Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) works to manage fatherhood with son Blue (Ethan Hutchison) and a healthy path forward with girlfriend Darla (Bianca Lawson), despite constant threats to his land and home.
Through it all, viewers will see the joy around the pain, and humanity’s ability to persevere and find light in the darkest of times. Led by the talented cast of Wesley, Gardner and Siriboe, “Queen Sugar’s” storylines continue to delve into important topics, such as police brutality, addiction and recovery, and systemic racism, among many others.
The expansive cast also includes Tina Lifford as the siblings’ free-spirited Aunt Violet, who manages her expanding pie shop while navigating her Lupus diagnosis; Omar J. Dorsey as Violet’s husband Hollywood Desonier, who wants to create a safe space for Black men to come together and talk about their emotional challenges; and Henry G. Sanders as Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of the late Bordelon family patriarch, Ernest (played by Glynn Turman). Recurring guest star Timon Kyle Durrett portrays Charley’s estranged husband and pro basketball player Davis West.
The new season of “Queen Sugar” returns on Tuesday, February 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Catch up on the first four seasons of the series exclusively on Hulu. You can access the trailer here: [https://youtu.be/RMcaW7anZUA].