Since “Queen Sugar” debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network in September 2016, it has been lauded for its intricate, intimate portrayal of Black Southern life, told through the prism of one family — the Bordelons — and their struggle to preserve their land and legacy in the fictional St. Josephine Parish in Louisiana.
Based on the book by Natalie Baszile, and created by Ava DuVernay, the series began with the sudden death of Ernest Bordelon (Glynn Turman) and the ensuing battle over the fate of the family farm. Left to mourn his loss and fend off the Landrys, a neighboring white family that has tried to buy, seize or steal the land from Bordelons for several generations, are Ernest’s three children: the firebrand activist and writer Nova (Rutina Wesley); the ambitious entrepreneur turned elected official Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner); and the sensitive son, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), who was formerly incarcerated and is now a fervent leader of a farmers’ co-op.
Over six seasons, they and relatives including Ernest’s loyal sister Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford), her big-hearted husband, Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey), and Charley’s politically conscious son, Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe), have inhabited lush landscapes and nuanced stories about African American families. The show’s exploration of intergenerational trauma, in regards to the land, includes topical concerns as well, such as police brutality, domestic violence and substance abuse.