Ready your tissue box, because it's about to get emotional. The Queen Sugar trailer just dropped, and it's made the show look like the one thing you have to watch this fall. The drama centers on the Bordelon family, who are brought back together following the death of the family patriarch; he passes away, leaving his relatives to care for an 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana. The siblings are all incredibly different from one another: we're introduced to Nova, the oldest, an activist, Charlotte, the wife of a famous basketball player and Ralph, who has just come out of prison and is trying to look after his son.
Other important facts you should know is that no one less than Oprah Winfrey is getting behind the camera in the role of producer (she's co-producing alongside Ava DuVernay and Melissa Carter), and there's no one director on board: there's a different director each episode and executive producer DuVernay has promised us via Twitter that every episode will be directed by a "badass woman director." Given the incredibly low levels of women directing (the Guardian reported that in 2015 "US primetime TV had 16percent female directors"), this is fantastically exciting news and just one of the reasons why you need to watch this TV show if you're at all interested in gender equality behind the scenes of your favorite shows.
And let's face it: if we want programming that's more representative of women's interests by employing more women, we shouldn't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. We need to watch the programs that really fly the flag for gender equality. I'm making this sound like a chore, but have you seen those visuals? Go on, click the play button. That's like a massage for your eyeballs right there.
Besides which, feminism in its current incarnation has one key failing: it's way, way too white women-centric. Feminist critic bell hooks' critique of The Feminine Mystique could function as a critique for so many high profile television shows that have aired over the past few years (Mad Men, Scream Queens, Girls, I'm looking at you):
Friedan's famous phrase, "the problem that has no name," often quoted to describe the condition of women in this society, actually referred to the plight of a select group of college-educated, middle- and upper-class, married white women — housewives bored with leisure... She did not discuss who would be called in to take care of the children and maintain the home if more women like herself were freed from their house labor and given equal access with white men to the professions... She ignored the existence of all non-white women and poor white women.
But really. Considering the current political climate, more than ever, there needs to be more programming which isn't just wealthy white woman-centric, but which represents the same diverse audience that tunes in. Given the diversity in class of the siblings, this show promises to explore racial tensions from different socioeconomic perspectives, which makes the show sounds oh-so-worthy and the televisual equivalent of eating all your vegetables. But that's on me, not the show. Again, have you seen that trailer? This looks completely gripping.
So, if you're ready to engage with a new show this fall, make it this one. It won't just be great viewing, but good for the world.
Images: OWN (2)