Oprah Winfrey and Ava Duvernay on making Queen Sugar

Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay speak about their experiences when producing Queen Sugar.

09 October 2018

Ava DuVernay, an award-winning filmmaker, is the main architect behind Queen Sugar, a book by Natalie Baszile. The show which takes place in St. Josephine, follows Nova Bordelon (played by Rutina Wesley), Charley Bordelon (played by Dawn-Lyen Gardner) and Ralph Angel Bordelon (Kofi Siriboe) – three siblings who fight to keep their father’s legacy alive.

After a girl’s trip to Hawaii, it was Oprah who convinced Ava to take on the project. Oprah gave Ava the novel and told her she had to read it. After reading the book over two days, Ava wrote a treatment which later developed into a series featuring only female directors, as well as a writer’s room, film and production crew rich with diversity.

Speaking about the premiere of season one, Ava said, “Who gets this? Who gets the opportunity, a woman, a Black woman, to tell a story about family, legacy and identity? To take the time with the scenes. So often I hear colleagues talking about the ‘fast cut’ and talking about trying to ‘cram it in.’ But when you work for a network that’s owned and operated by an artist and a friend you get to take your time.”

Oprah described the evening the premiere of the series as a celebration. She said that the project spoke for itself. “There are no adjectives to describe what it means to me to come to this point in the development of the network.

“For all the people who said it couldn’t be done I would say never count me out,” she ended.

Catch Season 3 finale of Queen Sugar tonight at 20:30 on 1Magic, DStv Channel 103.