By: Shanita Hicks
Overall Rating: 5/5
I am so thrilled that Ava and Oprah decided to bring the vision of this beautiful yet complex story to the small screen. The actors selected to portray the characters in the series were superbly casted. Each character has their own complexity and challenges and with the introduction of both veteran and newcomers, I believe that challenge is met and conquered.
Storytelling & Storyline
Famed movie producer and writer, Ava Duvernay’s television project Queen Sugar premiered on Tuesday Sept 6th on OWN. The first part of a two-part premiere was presented commercial free and showcased a riveting portrayal of the Bordelon Family that had grown disconnected from financial, personal lifestyles and choices. Yet all of those rifts and separating factors were sewn back together with what typically levels the playing field in everyone’s life: tragedy.
We were first introduced to a young woman named Nova Bordelon, who is portrayed by the lovely actress Rutina Wesley of True Blood fame. She appears to be living in a happy and fulfilling space but soon that is revealed to be otherwise. Caught within the confines of a sordid affair with a married man named Calvin (Greg Vaughan) a clear sense of judgment that she must have is consistently challenged. She plays as the silent but strong type that wishes to see change and resolution around her but relies on underground lifestyle habits to survive. Stuck between being apart of the social problem as a pusher and part of the healing solution within the Louisiana community as a holistic healer and social advocate her character stages the basis as the one that will challenge the family into action whether she is right or wrong.
Then we meet a young and emotionally guarded man named Ralph Angel Bordelon (Kofi Siriboe) with a sweet little boy named Blue Bordelon (Ethan Hutchison) that has been dealt the challenging hand of having to raise his son without the aid of Blue’s mother. Ralph Angel teeters along the line of living in line by trying to establish work with his father and dabbling across the line into the world of crime by indulging in stealing. As the storyline seamlessly transitions, we are introduced to Blue’s mother, Darla, portrayed by veteran actress Bianca Lawson who is struggling to regain her footing in life and the life of her son’s after suffering from drug addiction and abuse.
Then finally there is the affluent sister named Charley Bordelon West (Dawn Leyn-Gardner) that lives quite well on the opposite side of poverty and hardship with her family located in Los Angeles. All seems picture perfect within her marriage to Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett) and her life until misfortune and scandal rock her husband’s basketball team to it’s core. Originally having supported him and his proclamations of fidelity, she is left shattered by the revelation that he was involved and captured as the ringleader in a rape case.
But what lies beneath the surface of all their lives is the ailing patriarch Earnest Bordelon portrayed by celebrated actor Glynn Turman. Unbeknownst to his family, he hasn’t been in good health and he hasn’t been over a thriving farmland. Call it pride or just strong willed but the father takes up a side job as a janitor to make ends meet. All of this secrecy, stress and mounting responsibilities culminate towards the tragic end of his passing after attending his grandson’s birthday party. What proves to be even more tragic is the fact that his most financially successful daughter doesn’t make it in time.
Forced to find closure to their father’s life and potentially restoring his remaining legacy and earthly inheritance, the family must come together and prepare to face old but unresolved wounds.
On Wednesday, the Bordelon family returns and is seen from a more recognizing light of the fact that they must move forward with the home going of their father Earnest. Tensions flare as the family borders between trying to protect the family legacy and also pay respects without the flare and flash of Charley’s help. Eventually, they come to an agreement after a heated argument and the funeral is carried out as required and suggested.
But what happens within the second part of the series premiere is the discovery of awaiting buyers that are eager to take the land from up under the family, Blue being reunited with his mother Darla even after she fails to meet him on time as requested per the father Ralph Angel and Davis West failed attempt to mend the broken pieces between his family but see’s much resistance from both Charley and his son Micah West (Nicholas L. Ashe).
I highly recommend watching this series each week on Wednesday nights 10/9c on OWN. The show portrays the complexity of family life and how families must come together even if there are varying differences between them. The idea of life truly being too short is brought to the forefront and what you decide to do can make the ultimate change within that social circle.