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Queen Sugar - S1E1/S1E2 - First Things First/Evergreen

Queen Sugar S1E1/S1E2 - “First Things First/Evergreen” | Starring: Rutina WesleyDawn-Lyen GardnerKofi Siriboe, Tina Lifford, Omar J. Dorsey, Dondre Whitfield, Timon Kyle Durrett, Nicholas L. Ashe, Greg Vaughan, Ethan Hutchison, Marycarmen Lopez, Bianca Lawson, Glynn Turman | Directed by: Ava DuVernay | Created by: Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey | Based on a novel by: Natalie Baszile

It feels like the world has been blessed with an abundance of Black Girl Magic lately, with the most recent taking the from of Queen Sugar, a new drama from Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey. Queen Sugar centers on the Borderlon family: siblings Nova (Wesley), Charley (Gardner), and Ralph Angel (Siriboe).

Ralph Angel is just a few months out of jail and struggling to provide for his son, Blue (Hutchison). Despite the help provided by his father Ernest (Turman), aunt Vi and uncle Hollywood (Lifford, Dorsey), Ralph Angel still resorts to robbing a grocery store to get by.

On the surface, his sisters’ lives are more stable. Nova is a respected journalist and Charley manages her husband’s, Davis West’s (Durrett) multi-million dollar NBA career. However, the glossy veneer is shattered when West is implicated in a gang rape, and we learn Nova’s lover (Vaughan) is married.

The family is further tested when their father suffers a stroke and eventually dies, bringing Charley and her son Micah (Ashe) back to Louisiana for his services.

Everything about this series is so unapologetically black. While these stories could happen within any family, Queen Sugar captures the nuances that are unique to black people. Seriously, who else could make a flirtatious conversation about soul food so damn sexy? And Nova’s reaction to Charley’s surprise that the crabs for the repast were purchased alive…. “Charley? Really? Really?” So black! I love it.

“First Things First” introduced the family and their various obstacles, but “Evergreen” was our first opportunity to watch them (mainly the Boderlon siblings) interact under pressure. Nova acknowledges that she and Charley aren’t “close like that,” yet she still bristles when her editor asks her to write a piece on Charley’s marriage trouble and the rape allegation. This doesn’t stop all three siblings from clashing over paying for the funeral services (Ralph Angel and Nova reject Charley’s offer to shoulder the entire cost). Like most family dynamics, it swings with pendulumlike swiftness, and all three come together, holding hands, and they lay their father to rest.

The story and acting aren’t the only things good within Queen Sugar. The cinematography and direction are on point as well. Black skin is lit wonderfully, the sets feel authentic, and the camera placement in some of the most emotional scenes, like Ernest’s last moments with Blue and Ralph Angel, was perfection. Meshell Ndegeocello serves as the series’ musical director, and the song selections are beautiful.

With Charley deciding to remain in Louisiana to save her father’s sugarcane farm, despite interference from a shady local man looking to purchase it; Blue’s mother Darla (Lawson) looking for a place in her son’s life now that she’s sober; and Nova hoping to uplift and amplify black voices, the season promises lots of drama.

Queen Sugar serves bittersweet, black realness. And I’ll be there for it every week.

Make sure you leave your thoughts on this week’s episodes on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on the Queen Sugar podcast this weekend.

Queen Sugar S1E1/S1E2
  • 10/10
    Plot - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

6 Comments on Queen Sugar - S1E1/S1E2 - First Things First/Evergreen

  1. What about the post the other day?

  2. For the podcast

    This is for the second episode. And I will keep it short.

    Loving this show so much! Everyone is so amazing! And this show is so real. I swear something similar happened when we were making the arrangements for my daddy’s funeral. That scene was so real! And what money was RA paying for that funeral with? You don’t pay for a funeral with dirty money!

    I love the siblings relationship. They may fight among themselves but will be united against others. But why won’t they let Charley pay for stuff? Let her stick it to her husband and buy really expensive stuff for the service. Can’t wait to find out why their relationship is so strained. And who is her mama? Did Ernest cheat on their mama with Charlie’s mama?

    What did Blue’s mama do that has RalphAngel hating so much? Did she leave him alone while she was getting high or something? He was ready to disrupt his daddy’s funeral to berate her. She’s legit trying and you know he’s gonna be trifling when he confronts her. He left that baby alone while robbing a store! Idiot!

    Ok. I hope this isn’t too long. Can’t wait to hear the podcast and thank you so much for covering it!

  3. For the podcast
    First of all, we are getting a
    podcast-yay! Thank u Nina! 🙂
    Overall, I loved both episodes & eagerly look forward to the rest of the season. Everything is wonderful: actors/acting/script/scenery/direction Etc.

    Nova is my fav of the moment-I luv her her earthiness. Ralph Angel-what a name! I call him my beautiful black angel.😍Blue is just too adorable; he lights up the screen w/his appearances. Vic/Hollywood are my fav couple. The test of the cast is excellent too.

    Ep1-for me hospital scene w/3 generation of boderlon males bonding for the last time was a wonderful, touching scene.
    Ep2-family drama! Saw that coming-nova/Ralph angel throwing shade @ Charley over funeral plans & Charley/nova getting into it over outside help for the funeral. But in the end, they stood 2gether-especially against the funeral home director who demonstrated some petty moments.

    The funeral scene was beautifully done; I was mesmerized & misty at the same time.

    BTW, blues mom is played by beys step sibling (Bianca Lawson).

    That’s all I have-apologies for the length-I’m looking forward 2 the podcast & thanks again for doing this. 🙂

  4. The actor who plays Ralph had me captivated with his first scene. I knew he was about to do something he didn’t really want to do because his face was just so troubled. Also who is this child actor playing blue because I felt his pain when the grand daddy was put in the ambulance. Of course this show is all black everything, but with me growing up in Mississippi I am really loving the southern dialect and culture with phrases like “peckerwood” and “you gone catch a cold out chere”. Fuck Davis and his raping squad. Lastly, I just find it silly to spend thousands of dollars on a box that is literally going to been seem once and then put in the ground. That’s why I want to be cremated, or even have my body donated to science. What about y’all? Looking forward to the podcast. I’m sure I’ll be yelling at my phone, wishing I was apart of the discussion lol

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