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Ava DuVernay and ‘Queen Sugar’ Cast Discuss Social Justice on TV, New Episodes

Fresh off multiple Emmy wins for her gritty and moving documentary “13th,” Ava DuVernay and the cast of “Queen Sugar” appeared at PaleyFest Fall TV Previews to give fans an early look at a new episode and discuss the show’s continuing efforts to tell wide-ranging stories about issues such as black and bi-racial identity, black masculinity, police harassment, and social justice.

Cast members gathered on the Paley Center stage to talk about their favorite moments and highlights from the series, now in its second season. The drama has already been renewed for a third season. DuVernay noted, “We’re all on the same page. It’s a mind meld. We’re trying to find what’s next.”

Teasing what fans have to look forward to, star Dawn-Lyen Gardner said of her character, Charley Bordelon West, “We’re seeing Charley change. She’s out to create economic change for a community. She’s the most challenging character I’ve ever played. Sometimes she’s hard to root for.”

Actor Nicholas Ashe, who tackled a difficult police harassment storyline in Season 2, said, “The reception to Micah’s story has been incredible. I was impressed with what the writers did with the story.” Cast member Timon Kyle Durrett talked about the emotional father-son story, “Davis is going through a maturation. He’s learning how much he really messed up. The one thing connecting Davis, helping him control himself, is Micah. Davis is a fierce, loving father to Micah.” DuVernay added, “Davis seems like the perfect guy. We got to unpack that.” Speaking of perfect men, DuVernay said of Dondre Whitfield’s Remy, “He’s almost too perfect. We sit that there. There’s more to come from him. He’s haunted by his past.”

DuVernay also reminded fans that the writers are constantly planting seeds that take time to grow. One example DuVernay cited, “Blue’s doll may not pay off ’til Season 4. It’s like a cipher for the show. We watch Ralph Angel’s reaction to it.” Kofi Siriboe gave a vague clue about his character, Ralph Angel, saying, “He wants to be a man. He and Darla still have to confront some things.” Actress Bianca Lawson alluded to a mention of Darla’s parents and Darla’s need for closure with them.

Another fan favorite couple is Hollywood and Vi, portrayed by Omar Dorsey and Tina Lifford. Dorsey talked about a big challenge the two will face. “Now Hollywood is in Papa Bear mode. He’ll protect you.” Lifford said, “Vi is in a struggle she doesn’t know she’s prepared for.”

Queen Sugar” returns Oct. 3 and 4 with a two-night premiere on OWN.

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