How Queen Sugar Offers a Different View of African-American Families

Season 1
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Queen Sugar is unlike anything you've seen on television before.

Show producer and creator Ava DuVernay says that, at its heart, Queen Sugar is a drama about family that is, in many ways, universal. "It's something that allows us to see ourselves and see the ways that we interact with our own families," Ava says, "and so this family can be stripped of its location, of its race, of its class and still our hope is that you're able to see a bit of yourself in it.

Ava explains that the show has its own pace and rhythm. "The way we've crafted Queen Sugar is very continuous, very linear," Ava continues. "Every week you're going to stop by and visit people that you know. It's not event based, it's not the emergency room where there are things happening and new cases to solve and new crimes.

"It's people living their lives and really examining the beauty of that, and so, week to week, you'll go deeper into these character's lives, you'll learn more about them, you'll learn more about their struggles and their triumphs and the ways that they're interconnected, and what we've really tried to find is the really high drama within the smaller character movements that are are really beautifully unfolding around us."

Queen Sugar is also set apart by its vision of an African-American family. "It's a vision of family that is different from the vision I feel is so often offered on American television," Ava says. "It is told through the lens of black people, and we don't talk about race in every episode, but the very presence of black people in those roles is radical in and of itself. Because we don't see them. There's a dearth of those images.

"Fifty percent of this country don't see themselves reflected on television in the everyday way that we relate, and so it's vital, it's important that these images are made, that they are amplified, not only for black people. For everyone.

"This affects the way that black people see themselves but also affects the way that we are seen. These images allow us to draw closer to one another. They are powerful, and they affect politics. They affect culture. They affect our everyday lives and the way that we relate to one another."