Fans will “take flight” one last time with the Bordelon family on Sep. 6, when the seventh and final season of Queen Sugar begins on OWN. Over the last six years, millions of viewers have tuned in to watch the critically acclaimed series and judging by the trailer, fans are already squirming in their seats to see the twists and turns that lie ahead for The Bordelon siblings and their immediate brood.
Based on Natalie Baszile’s 2014 novel of the same name, Queen Sugar centres on the lives of three siblings in rural Louisiana (Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe) who must deal with the aftermath of their father’s sudden death and decide the fate of his 800-acre sugarcane farm. Before diving into the juicy plot of the seventh season, a few cast members from the esteemed drama reflected with MADAMENOIRE on their “rollercoaster” journey with the popular series.
“When you do a show, especially with television, you just hope that people will like it the first season. We didn’t know how people were going to react to it,” said Omar J. Dorsey who plays Hollywood, the supportive husband of the Bordelon sibling’s paternal Aunt Violet.
After the first season aired in 2016, Queen Sugar garnered a ton of awards including an African-American Film Critics Association award for “Best TV Drama” and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding ‘Drama Series” – all thanks to the riveting work of the cast and stellar onscreen direction from show creator Ava DuVernay. Dorsey gushed about the fan reception of the show, noting how people from all walks of life have been following along with the Bordelon’s mission to protect their farm from money-hungry Mr. Landry and everyone else in between. “It’s been a roller coaster. I feel like I’ve been in Six Flags or something,” chuckled Dorsey. “There have definitely been ebbs and flows, but at the end of the day, it’s been a beautiful challenge.”
Tina Lifford, who portrays the matriarchal Aunt Violet, spoke about the beautiful accomplishments made behind the scenes of the show. The actress applauded DuVernay who employed over “40 different female directors” of color to work on the hit OWN series throughout its six-year tenure. Showrunner Shaz Bennett and Sundance Film Festival standout Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us) were among the talented women tapped to help DuVernay bring her stunning adaption of Queen Sugar to life.
“Queen Sugar now makes them a sought-after director in television,” Lifford said with excitement. “These are storylines that have never been seen on television before. There have been a lot of creative muses that have supported us and we had the opportunity of riding that ride.”
For actress Rutina Wesley, taking on the role of the eldest Bordelon sibling Nova has taught her a few things that she has applied in her own life.
“Nova has taught me self-care,” she said with a big smile. “She takes care of herself even though she’s a woman of the community and she’s a journalist doing all these things. I think that’s very important for young Black women to see, because I know I didn’t see a lot of it when I was growing up.”
What to expect this season
In case you missed it, season 6 left off on an incredible high for the Bordelon Family. Ralph Angel, the youngest Bordelon and his wife Darla welcomed their new daughter. Hollywood and Aunt Violet finally found the man who really framed Ralph for that scandalous crime that threatened to tear the family legacy apart, and the Bordelons win back their farm from Mr. Landry after making a historic discovery beneath the property.
In the last episode, love appeared to be burgeoning between Nova and her caring boyfriend Dominic. According to Wesley, fans will get to see Nova let her hair down a little bit more now that the family is finally in a good place.
“You’re going to see more growth if you could just imagine what that might be for Nova,” the actress said. “There’s a lot of growth that’s happening for her this season and Dominic will be there, too. There’s something budding with their relationship that’s kind of beautiful. But ultimately, we’re going to see some growth from Nova that we haven’t seen in all six years. It’s going to be quite good too,” she teased.
Darla and Ralph Angel’s older son “Blue” seemed to be curious about the inner workings of the family farm, but will we get to see the youngster step into a bigger role in the family business?
Bianca Lawson, who plays Darla told us that fans will “definitely see him step up” in season seven. “You’re definitely going to see him come into a lot of the potential that was always there but now, he’s owning it,” she added.
Leaving behind a legacy
While fictional, Queen Sugar shines a real light on the cultural and political red tape Black farmers have been toiled with for decades in the U.S. Throughout history, farmers of color have been excluded from pivotal federal loan programs needed to support growth within the industry. In 2021, things took a turn for the worst when the COVID-19 pandemic sent a number of Black farmers spiraling into debt due to the virus’ whiplash on the economy. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture made direct loans available for farmers in need, data found that applications among 42 percent of Black farmers were rejected, while only 9 percent of white farmers were denied loans in 2021.
Before joining the show, Dorsey said he wasn’t aware of the sordid past plaguing farmers of color in America.
“I got hip to it when I started doing the show and when I went to DC to visit my daughter, I started doing a lot of work with the Congressional Black Caucus. I met a lot of Black farmers, and they were telling me how the show really did reflect what was going on to them today.”
Now, Dorsey is leaving his legacy on the show to help Black farmers. The actor told MADAMENOIRE that he uses his platform to speak out against issues impacting the community.
“I got involved with them and started speaking on their behalf at some of the events in D.C. That’s a beautiful thing that Ava and all of our writers were able to actually put into the limelight because it really does show what this group of people are actually going through.”
Wesley and Lawson said being on the show has made them reflect on the legacy they want to leave behind for their families.
“Being on the show has made me really think about what land means. And in your life, land can mean a bunch of different things,” Wesley shared. “That could just be your love or it could be actual land. So I think viewers got to see that question reflected back. It made them stop and think well, “what do I want to leave?” or “what is my legacy?”
For Lawson, legacy means expanding outside of her acting career.
“It made me start to think of what I actually want to build. When you have a stake in something beyond your performance or fulfilling the vision of everyone above you, it incentivizes you in a different way,” the actress said. “Maybe I want to manage or produce something that’s mine and something that I have more creative input in. I can be a little bit of a Rolling Stone,” she laughed. “But I think it could be something that even if I don’t have kids, I can pass it on to my nieces and they can pass it on to their kids. It has opened my mind because I didn’t really think about what I wanted my legacy to be.”
The final season of “Queen Sugar” premieres on Sept. 6 at 8 pm ET/PT.