How Oprah is quietly leading the revolution with ‘Queen Sugar’ on OWN
Tonight is the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The Season finale of Queen Sugar.
Throughout Season 2, we’ve watched as the Bordelon siblings have loved, fought and grown together.
How will Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) navigate dealing with the Landrys, who are trying to destroy all she’s worked hard to build? How will Aunt Vi’s (Tina Lifford) health battle change her life? Will Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) move forward after the devastating revelation that his father-son relationship with Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) may not be what he thought it was? Can Darla (Bianca Lawson) survive the heartbreak she’s caused from withholding the truth?
Thankfully, Queen Sugar has always answered all of our storyline/plot questions – but also given us the answers to questions society needs to know: Can black families find healing despite long-held secrets, quiet rivalries and deep pain from our past?
Are black men allowed to be loving, complex, faithful, flawed and devoted human beings on television?
Can a woman run a business like a boss, even while dealing with heartbreaking divorce?
Can an all-female director team of seven women–five of whom have never directed television episodes before, bring Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s vision for a fully human depiction of a black family to life?
These answers really became clear for me, after I flew to LA last week to OWN studios for a taping of the show’s after special, “Queen Sugar Season Finale Special, Oprah & The Cast.”
When we pulled into the lot, a big glowing OWN studios sign greeted us, along with two gigantic Queen Sugar and Greenleaf posters on the wall of one of the buildings.
Seeing a studio lot in the middle of West Hollywood with the initials of a black woman is a statement about the power of literally own-ing your own.
This was the house that Oprah built.
Everywhere we walked in OWN headquarters, we saw photos of Oprah’s memorable television moments over the past 30 years and tributes to projects she produced like “Selma.” There was a table in one conference room which had hundreds of mini photos of influential African-Americans displayed across it.
As I walked into the after show taping area, I saw dozens of the show’s fans (affectionately known as “Sweeties”) dressed to the nines (you know how black folks do), waiting for their chance to see Queen Mother Oprah, Ava DuVernay and the entire cast take the stage.
These were the same folks who excitedly tweet along every Wednesday night, developing an emotional investment in the show.
After comedienne and actress Yvonne Orji warmed up the crowd with jokes, Oprah came out and hugged her, then took the stage to rousing applause to begin the taping.
One by one, Oprah called cast members out to the cheering crowd of predominantly black fans who showed them love. Superfans got to ask questions to the cast and address how the show changed their lives.
While you’ll have to tune in tonight to see what they said about Season 2, just know that the conversation extended beyond “Queen Sugar.” Oprah got emotional talking about what the show meant to her:
“‘Queen Sugar’ for me is this imagined dream fulfilled. It’s the kind of show that I actually envisioned when we started this network,” she said.
“You don’t have a show if the people don’t watch…I honor you and I thank you for supporting this work. And the vision that we hold for what it means to show families loving each other who are black people- people of color, people of wonder and amazement. Who are real…and just keep loving. Just like all of you do.”
Oprah, ever-intentional, knew when she partnered with Ava DuVernay, she was creating a space for family, connection and representation.
It’s more than a television show. It’s a revolution of black family love- and we are so here for it.
The “Queen Sugar” season finale, an extended 90-minute episode written by creator and executive producer Ava DuVernay, will air on Wednesday, November 15 at 9:00p ET/PT on OWN (note earlier timing).
“Queen Sugar Season Finale Special, Oprah & The Cast,” will air immediately after the finale episode at 10:30p ET/PT. Hosted by Oprah Winfrey, the after-show special will feature exclusive interviews with DuVernay, the ensemble cast and an audience of fans.