As most of television struggles to find itself, rewrite what's already been done and squander away, it's been digital platforms who've become more enticing. As a result, it's the best, most relatable content that will survive on television screens. Oprah Winfrey's network, OWN, once on the verge of collapse, has since been stepping up and churning out high-quality scripted series as of late. From "Green Leaf" to "The Haves and Have Nots", OWN has figured out a formula and run with it. But it's the surprise of the bunch, fiction drama "Queen Sugar," that may be the network's crown jewel. The show is set in fictional Saint Josephine, Louisiana, chronicling the life of a tight-knit black family coming together over the death of the grandfather and the inheritance of his 800-acre sugarcane farm on to his children. I heard the show was good, but I had no expectation the show would be amazing.
The greatness of the show can be equated the cinemetopgraphy, the acting and the script, even the setting but what stands out to me the most is the relevance to current issues plaguing America right now. The storyline of black farmers has never been given such a platform and yet it the plot of a seemingly unrelatable family still hits on so many issues Americans from all over deal with on a daily basis in 2017. From race to priviledge to the positive presence of strong black women, "Queen Sugar" has it all and it's interlaced so flawlessly. (Shouts out to Director Ava DuVernay.)
From the onset of the show we see race and priviledge at the forefront. The Bordelones are a black family competing in a white dominated field of farming. No one except their own family wants them to succeed and we see race play out in how other farmers try to take their land from right under the family. Nova is a fierce journalist who calls out the disproportionate police activity of the local police, yet she, herself, is dating a white officer. It shows the difficulty of following your heart and mind and questions if she's doing anything wrong at all.
We see priviledge early through one of the Bordelone daughters, Charlie, who is married on an professional basketball star who cheats on her. Yet, unlike what we usually see on TV, Charlie is self-made. She doesn't roll over or succumb to her husband's cheating ways, but instead she gets more strategic and tactical. Even still, as she transitions from high-class suburban life to rural farm life we see her struggle with her own priviledge she didn't know existed. This is imporant as we continue to push for a fair shot at life, so as we call on others to acknowledge their own shortcomings, we need to check ourselves.
The role of the strong black woman is another key component in the show. From Aunt Violet as the new anchor of the Bordelone family, to Nova as this unfeathered journalist, to Charlie as this fearless businesswoman who is unwilling to back down from the richest and the most powerful. There are many examples of dynamic black women that are not often portrayed on screen. Too many times black women are successul, but cannot keep a man or only raise their voices, but these women are great at their job and they find love throughout. In fact, in 2016 black women are the single most educated group in America. It's about time we see this on TV.
These are just a few of the most poignant themes that "Queen Sugar" uncovers and takes a full dive to really grasp onto the complexities of being black in America and being black in a white space, in farming. Almost every family can relate to the struggles of their own family relations and almost every family can relate to not everything always going their way. Yet, hopefully "Queen Sugar" inspires you to fight for love and fight for what you know is right. One thin I do know is, I cannot wait for season 2!
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