The 'Selma' directer tweeted Tuesday that upcoming OWN drama 'Queen Sugar' is staffed by women and people of color

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
February 09, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
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When Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama, she said in her acceptance speech that “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

And Ava DuVernay asserts that creating those roles and making diverse hires is not all that difficult: “You just have to look past your front door maybe.”

The Selma director — thought by fans and critics to have been snubbed by the 2015 Oscars — took to Twitter on Tuesday to share that her forthcoming OWN drama Queen Sugar, which she is writing, directing, and executive-producing, “enjoys the expertise, intelligence, ideas of many women dept heads, producers, scribes. It’s not that hard.”

“You just have to look past your front door maybe. Or ask somebody. Or meet someone new. I mean, ya know? Jus’ sayin’,” she continued. “Also, there are wonderful talented folks of color across all our QUEEN SUGAR departments. How? We seek + find + hire.”

“#inclusion,” DuVernay added in hashtags. “#itsachoice.” 

The director ended her missive by evoking the image of Blue Ivy Carter in Beyoncé’s video for “Formation,” where she stands, hands on her hips, with a smile on her face, as her mother sings with pride about their shared black heritage. 

Queen Sugar is based on the novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile, and will “chronicle a spirited woman who leaves her upscale Los Angeles lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her recently departed father—an 800-acre sugar cane farm in the heart of Louisiana,” reads an OWN network release. “Her world and identity are turned upside down as she and her teenage daughter attempt to navigate a new and very different environment while rebuilding their farm from scratch. She is met with curiosity and community, with resistance and romance. It isn’t long before a transformation begins and she realizes that she’s been living a lot farther from her Southern roots than mere miles.”

The series stars True Blood alum Rutina Wesley, as well as Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe Kofi Siriboe, and Omar J. Dorsey; Oprah is set for a recurring role. The series will debut this year. 

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