Since making the transition from publicist to a filmmaker, writer and director Ava DuVernay has distinguished herself as an adept storyteller able to bring complex and nuanced portrayals of Black folks to life. From her award-winning drama Middle of Nowhere to the critically acclaimed Selma, DuVernay repeatedly gives audiences meaty, yet universal, narratives highlighting the Black experience. This September, DuVernay will do it again when her first TV series, Queen Sugar, hits OWN.
And we can’t hardly wait.
Based on Natalie Baszile’s novel, Queen Sugar is set in rural Louisiana and follows the Bordelon siblings–Nova, Charlotte, and Ralph Angel–as they are forced into a strained partnership to run their family’s ailing farm.
True Blood’s Rutina Wesley assumes the role of Nova, the oldest sister and community activist who’s tasked with reviving the farm and keeping her family together. Dawn-Lyen Gardner is Charlotte, the wife of a star basketball player who returns home after she’s hit by a scandal. And Kofi Siriboe plays Ralph Angel, the troubled younger brother who’s fresh from prison and looking to put his life back on track.
DuVernay said the cast was picked because of their spirit.
“I don’t just cast for talent, I cast for spirit,” she explained at a press event in New Orleans. “They came together and created a family.”
The show will debut over two nights–September 6 and 7–on OWN, and the first season will run for 13 episodes, which were all directed by women.
While DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey are under pressure to live up to the hype created by their dynamic partnership, the Selma director isn’t too concerned.
“I don’t know how it’s going to do,” she said earlier this month. “You have to sink into it. It’s a different pace. It’s not going to go fast like a music video.”
We’re so ready!
Britni Danielle is the Senior Digital Editor of EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Catch her tweeting @BritniDWrites.