We decided to lead with “Queen Sugar”, says Ava Duvernay

Ava DuVernay has said that on the set of Queen Sugar, the decision was to lead rather than follow the industry.

“My formula was simple,” she told Ebony in an interview while reflecting on the series. 

“Let’s not just talk about it; let’s be about it. So we decided to stop following the industry. We decided to lead, and do what we knew was right and possible,” she stated. 

She added that although many said it was wrong and impossible hiring new women directors with the series being their first episode of TV, they only hired women to direct.

She said the plan was to develop a whole new generation of women behind the camera in television. 

“We achieved that. These women have gone on to direct everything from Insecure and Lovecraft Country to Westworld and Ozark, and everything in between across all networks, studios and streamers. Women who weren’t seen and valued before are now working everywhere. And now, it isn’t an anomaly to hire women directors in general. It’s normalized. It’s expeaszile’s book Queen Sugar and the process of channeling your vision for the series?” She explained.

DuVernay said that the series, adapted from Natalie Baszile’s beautiful book has a lovely idea at its core that was ripe for expansion into a television series. 

Both forms of the story proudly amplify the incredible lives and loves within the Black farming community. 

Indeed, as the magazine noted, Queen Sugar completely adapted to and mirrored the social and political climate experienced in real-time. 

For the acclaimed filmmaker, “in creating Queen Sugar, my intention was to represent the magnificence of the Black family on American television in the ways that I had seen so many family dramas featuring white families do over the decades. We have had great Black family comedies, but a lot less Black family dramas. So this was my big goal. Within that, we understand that the lives of Black people are radical acts of love and strength and survival in and of themselves. So we tackled the political, social and cultural politics of our lives head on. We incorporated our history as well as current events into the characters’ lives and storylines over our seven-season run. I hope that this work serves as a time capsule to what we all experienced together as a Black community during this time. We can always look back and remember the issues, the ideas, the energy of this time. That’s my dream for the project”. 

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