Azúcar Reina.

qs2Courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter

No show has ever managed to get me that invested in its characters by the first episode. Maybe it’s because Dr. War, Glynn Turmon, was brilliantly chosen as the father of the three Bordelon siblings, played by Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe’s Ghanaian self. Either way, I was had. I cried Pacific Ocean tears. I’m not as robotic as I used to be since the birth of my daughter.

Every time I see the word sugar, it is imperative that I give an oral tribute to Celia Cruz and shout, Azucar! Hence, the title of this critique. The backdrop to this drama is an ailing sugarcane farm in Louisiana. DuVernay’s series directorial debut is an adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s “Queen Sugar.”

What I like most is Ava DuVernay’s ability to wheel you in to view all involved as humans, flaws especially and still love them. I felt immediate compassion for Ralph Angel. As he headed toward the store. Dads often struggle with their value and their inability to financially provide. Often having to sacrifice the most pertinent thing, themselves. I was connected to Charley’s fix everything attitude and recognized Nova’s take charge spirit. Head strong confidence can either collectively build great empires or destroy all that crosses their paths. Photographic excellence will be king in this series, visceral even.

Dondre Whitfield sealed the deal. It was refreshing to see him on the screen again. It is clear that casting was seriously considered. On the small screen, it seems as if it takes a cast seasoned or not at least 3 or 4 episodes to gel. There are seasoned actors with the right sprinkle of novice (not completely brand spanking new).

The black girl magic is so lit at OWN Network. DuVernay’s directorial team consist of all women. I’m noticing a trend in Black Hollywood, they’re showing the world the true definition of inclusion and equality through sheer access to opportunity.

I am going to enjoy watching a predominately black cast weave in and out of drama, pose solutions without the dreaded narrow minded scope that is normally portrayed. I now understand Tyler Perry’s recent Instagram post. I’m antsy like a mug for episode three.

Other cast members include Bianca Lawson, Greg Vaughan, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Timon Kyle and Nicholas L. Ashe. Tune in tomorrow night at 10 p.m. and every Wednesday to see if these siblings can set aside their differences to save their family farm and help each other cope with life’s challenges.


Sister, Sister


Gurl, I loovvve that dressI didn’t, don’t know her.  Her outfit was a flowing, floral maxi dress, the perfect pair of corked wedges, her hair was pinned up and her skin was glowing.  I was at the gas station on Jefferson Avenue, downtown.  We were both pumping our own gas.  She was stunning, I could not help but to pay her a compliment.

Instead of responding with just a flicker of gratitude; a simple thank you or a smile.  She twisted up her nose and lifted her eyebrow to the heavens, slammed her car door and drove off.

What was that about? I thought to myself.  Maybe she thought I was a lesbian and being flirtatious.  I don’t get it.  The truth is I’m a heterosexual woman and I am comfortable with my sexuality; feminine enough to give another woman a compliment.

What is this newer, old dynamic with women, where we can’t gracefully accept compliments or give one another respect?  My perception is not to declare that all women cannot or have not developed loving relationships with other women but rather to acknowledge that there is a growing lack of reverence amongst us.  So, who is the culprit or what is the reason for the animosity and/or feeling of being attacked?

By no means should you cue the kumbaya music.  We are not all meant to be best friends or even associates but certainly we can manage being cordial.  There will definitely be moments within our lives respectively when two energies do not match.  Most recently, Jada Pinkett-Smith made a post discussing that sometimes walking way is the best type of friendship you can give a person.

Why did I feel I offended her with my compliment?  I didn’t say anything belligerent like sweetheart or honey.  I genuinely liked her dress.  I wasn’t sizing her up or judging her.  Why wouldn’t I go out of my way to bestow such pleasantries on her?

Have our own personal insecurities caused us to be each other’s innate arch-nemesis without proper cause?  Have our respective childhoods or society made us uncomfortable with being comfortable in our own skins?

I often look to old adages to gain some sort of clarity on the present as well foresight for the future.  The African proverb “women hold up half of the sky” comes to mind.  The incident makes me think about learned behaviors and vicious cycles.  A girl not only learns from her guardians biologically but also from other women and girls alike.  What are we doing with one another to make sure the models and examples we are presenting are altering future relationships between women for the better?

I definitely could speak on the reality TV adlibs and scripted nonsense, but we already know how damaging those shows are and can be.  We already know that image is everything, but I am more concerned with what we are doing and can do in the real world.

Could it be that we should be the best friends in the history of being friends.  Truly, deeply and hard as hell, love the women that are in our circles.  If we stopped and analyzed our friends, we would fine that there is the nurturing spirit of Oprah, the solution seeking nature of Iyanla Vanzant, the hold you down-lift you up courage of Tyra Banks.  If we hone our skills of femininity, that raw, unadulterated strength—watch the world change.

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