WATCH: Ava DuVernay Talks ‘Queen Sugar’ & Finding A Place To Breathe

Deadline has released another clip from their The Contenders Emmys last month held at the DGA Theatre! This time, speaking with the cast and crew of Queen Sugar, the family drama created, directed, and executive produced by Ava DuVernay as well as executive produced by Oprah Winfrey.

The video explores how Queen Sugar came together on the “artist-run network” such as OWN, the relationship between the siblings Nova Bordelon (Rutina Wesley), Charley Bordelon West (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) and Ralph Angel Bordelon (Kofi Siriboe), and the issues of class, race, sex, the criminal justice system, and police violence.

“We’re trying to do something different with this and I need a place where I can breathe and do that,” said Oscar-nominated DuVernay of Queen Sugar. “We need a place where we can have black people in the South, where the matriarch of the family is a waitress and one of the three major characters is a formerly incarcerated man,” the Oscar-nominated director added.

Gardner also expressed how powerful it was to come from a professional background in television and to have DuVernay as her first female director only to be followed by seven more.

Based on Natalie Baszile’s 2014 novel, Queen Sugar debuted on September 6, 2016 and focuses on a trio of estranged siblings that attempt to deal with death and the ties that bind. It returns for its second season next month.

The three leads talked about their spiritual connection, which comes across in the chemistry of their respective characters. “It was really important, I think, that when Ava cast that she cast for a spirit,” Wesley said.

“We’re like kindred spirits, I feel like, just naturally, so it is really easy for us to connect immediately,” she added. “We can really get raw with each other and hug it out at the end of the day and you can’t always do that.”

Queen Sugar returns for its sophomore season with another two-night event on OWN Tuesday, June 20, and Wednesday, June 21 (10 p.m. ET/PT each night). The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT.



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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

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