OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network held a private New York screening of its new original drama series, “Queen Sugar,” from award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey at the Crosby Street Hotel. Following the screening, Ava DuVernay introduced a Q&A amongst attending cast members Rutina Wesley (“Nova Bordelon”), Dawn-Lyen Gardner (“Charley Bordelon West”), Kofi Siriboe (“Ralph Angel Bordelon”), and Nicholas L. Ashe (“Micah West”).
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ABOUT “QUEEN SUGAR”
From award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and executive producer Oprah Winfrey, the contemporary drama “Queen Sugar” chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana: Nova (Rutina Wesley, “True Blood”), a world-wise journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner, “Unforgettable”), the savvy wife and manager of a professional basketball star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe, “Awkward”), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption. After a family tragedy, the Bordelons must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South. Led by acclaimed film director DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, all episodes in the series’ debut season are directed by women. “Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey. The series is based on the book by Natalie Baszile.
The expansive cast includes Tina Lifford (“Parenthood”) as Aunt Violet; Omar J. Dorsey (“Ray Donovan,” “Selma”) as Violet’s much younger boyfriend Hollywood Desonier; Dondré Whitfield (“Mistresses”) as trusted Bordelon family friend Remy Newell; Timon Kyle Durrett (“Single Ladies”) as Charley’s husband, professional basketball star Davis West, Nicholas L. Ashe (The Lion King – National Tour) as Charley and Davis’ teenage son, Micah; Greg Vaughan (“Days of Our Lives”) as a local cop and Nova’s lover, Calvin; and Ethan Hutchison (“The Path”) as Ralph-Angel’s son, Blue. Additionally, Emmy and multiple NAACP Image Award-winning actor Glynn Turman (“The Wire”) guest stars as family patriarch Ernest Bordelon; Henry G. Sanders (“Rocky Balboa”) recurs as Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of Ernest, Bianca Lawson (“Rogue”) guest stars as Ralph Angel’s ex-girlfriend and mother of Blue, Darla; and Marycarmen Lopez (“From Dusk ‘Til Dawn: The Series”) as Blue’s elementary school teacher.
DuVernay directed the first two episodes of “Queen Sugar” and hand-picked an all-female roster of directors to helm the subsequent episodes of the series’ first season. The slate of both seasoned and emerging directing talent includes Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned”), Victoria Mahoney (“Yelling to the Sky”), Tanya Hamilton (“Night Catches Us”), So Yong Kim (“Lovesong,” “Treeless Mountain”), Kat Candler (“Hellion”), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Eureka”) and Neema Barnette (“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day,” “Being Mary Jane”).