Queen Sugar, one of OWN’s hit family drama series which is helmed by Ava DuVernay will return for season 4 on June 12th. The Knockturnal sat down with the series three leading cast members Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe during an intimate press luncheon in New York City, where the cast discussed how themes, storylines and more from the previous seasons will be explored when the show returns.
On talking about the characters confronting ‘secrets’ this season:
Rutina Wesley: I’ve always thought that truth, and know to be true that the truth can sometimes be healing for people, but whether or not they’re ready to face that truth and are ready to heal this is sometimes the question. And it’s a fine line when telling someone’s truth and sort of forcing them into that process at a time when maybe they’re ready to. So for Nova I think in her heart her intentions are good. She really thinks that maybe this book can reach the community and help others, but I don’t know if she totally thinks through the reactions that her family may have to it, or maybe she thinks she knows what it’s gonna be and then those reactions of course (as you’ll watch this season) are different I think than she really really thought. And it’s a lesson for her because your truth is not somebody else’s truth who has ownership of the story especially without permission from someone and you’re telling something that is their truth or what you think to be their truth. It’s really interesting but the beauty of it as I’m hoping that people will see how complicated it is but also how the love in that can conquer sometimes the pain and also that maybe we will be able to deal with some of the trauma and things that has happened in the history of our family in a way that we haven’t before, it’s just how long will it take us to actually get to that point when we have get past that initial anger or however you feel first if that makes sense.
Dawn-Lyen Gardner: I think it’s a tricky conversation and I think it’s complicated because dealing with secrets can happen personally on an individual level, it can happen within a family and it can happen publicly and those three arenas are all very different_ relationships to them. I think part of what the writers wanted to do this year was to test the limits of loyalty and bond and where love can move beyond betrayal, where love can move beyond the experience of being wronged, can it, how far can you push that question. I think in terms of the black community generally (it’s always hard to say generally with the black community), but I think in terms of the conversation on secrets in the black community and the resistance to dealing with and the airing what we are dealing with I think it’s an important thing to press on and to push and I think that’s a big part of what Nova does and that’s what she represents in the story line is that force that is asking to redefine our values about us and to really allow it to potentially transform us, and the resistance I think is both cultural and very even and there’s no right in it, there’s no place to land that’s absolutely right. I do personally feel like it’s tricky to have someone or to force someone or to share someone’s pain or trauma when it’s not them, it’s not their choice to do that. I can’t land in a place of it’s only wrong because if there’s something that’s good and human that comes from that is it only wrong.
Kofi Siriboe: I mean I agree with everything they said. One thing I feel I’m hearing is there is a lack of safe spaces, for us to reveal our traumas and feel like we can transform and talk about what we have been through and I guess get to a place of peace. I feel like if there were spaces that were curated for us, if we had more access to resources we wouldn’t feel the need to internalize everything and live with that weight or that baggage. So I think the few of us who have that privilege and platform and resources to share access to those spaces and I guess that comfort I challenge us to do that which is what I believe that’s what Ava is doing with Queen Sugar. It’s a safe space that we even get to sit hear and talk about these things and broadcast it to our communities and hopefully find healing through that. So I just think that we need more safe spaces that are specific to us and our history and our trauma and our transformation.
During the series the character of Charley and Nova face an obstacle in their sisterhood when Nova shares a kiss with Charley’s ex, speaking on how this situation will be dealt with between the two sisters, Wesley spoke:
Rutina Wesley: We do unpack it. We kind of were talking about this earlier about perspective. Some people look at it like girl that’s your sister’s ex you don’t, then there’s some people who go oh they never had a intimate relationship physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t emotional, so it’s ok right it’s kind of free game because they never really went there. So we do unpack it in a way and it’s not a easy answer because everyone feels differently about it. I was kind of joking with the affair and in my head I went it was only a kiss and that was it but for some people that’s enough of a betrayal. I know you’ll see it but I was always interested to hear what Charley’s response would be because we talk about how we’ve never seen it. So I think you will finally get to see how she feels about all those things.
After all the drama that Charley has experienced over the last few seasons it was asked will she find a place of solace this season:
Dawn-Lyen Gardner: It has felt like every year the devastation increases,(its like woo it felt like the Plagues of Egypt that last season, it did it did I was like really okay)so its been a lot to walk through. It really has. My body has kept it really stored somewhere because at the end of the day these stories aren’t fantastical, they’re very believably real and our bodies know them. So its been really wonderful to enter this season in a very different place and shes actually I think the first time we see her settle into her life and we see her happy. We see her exploring a new relationship, someone who’s very very free of the drama of everything else and everyone else. As the show runner said to me well enjoy episode one. I too have enjoyed and have appreciated her evolution since season one, I didn’t see it coming and I am so grateful to be playing it, privileged to be playing it because you’re watching a woman really evolve and you’re watching her understand her own betterment is completely tied to the liberation and freedom and upliftment and justice of a larger community. And that’s a story that you don’t see unpacked it’s not just a so straight line that all of a sudden she gets it she woke up and yeah she’s for the people. It has a ton of costs, it has a lot of personal confrontation that it requires and she really meets it every time not necessarily willingly but she does. So it has been one of the three greatest gifts of my life, is to walk that journey to be walking that journey. Stay tuned for how it unfolds this season.
When asked what do they hope for the future of their character’s as the series progresses Kofi Siriboe answered:
It’s really interesting, I was really waiting to see what Ava had in mind because I know these stories are dear to her. The last thing I expected even though that little baby is so light skinned I was never really thinking Blue wasn’t really gonna be my son. Even at that point as I’m watching the devastation unfold, for me I just hope to see Ralph Angel find some sort of stability and security in his family and in himself and I think we see that play out as he has to confront things with Nova bringing the book to light You see hints of it but I guess as a man I’m also searching for that sense of stability and security and creating that same space for myself in real life so I would love to see that manifest in his life Ralph Angel’s life which it is but he’s always got something going on so that’s that. And I want to see him happy in love in a functional relationship. I just want to see him share an exchange with somebody because I feel he has so much love to give and so much healing he has to experience and I think love is a specific healing that could uplift his space.