Essence Fest: Ava DuVernay celebrates Queen Sugar's all-female directing squad
The brains behind the Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated movie Selma, has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey for the new drama series Queen Sugarpremiering September 6 and 7 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
“She’s a dear friend to me and so our collaboration on Selma was so lovely that when I was expressing that I wanted to do a series, she said ‘well you know I’ve got a network,'” DuVernay, 43, tells PEOPLE.
Queen Sugar is adapted from the novel by Natalie Baszile and tells the story of three siblings who inherit their father’s 800-acre sugarcane farm. DuVernay wrote, co-directed and produced the 13-episode drama, which just wrapped up filming in New Orleans last week.
Queen Sugar will be DuVernay’s first television series and she’s excited that its home is on Winfrey’s network. The dynamic duo worked together on Selma and are hoping this series will break barriers for more female directors.
“Every single episode is directed by a woman. It isn’t something that we see hardly enough,” DuVernay says. “If Game of Thrones can have all men for the last 3 seasons, Queen Sugar can have all women and show what a fantastic show can be made from our hands and our minds.”
DuVernay’s upcoming show stars actress Rutina Wesley, formerly of True Blood, “This is the one. It’s a dream come true for me. I finally get to play this awesome role,” Wesley tells PEOPLE. “I hope little girls are going to grow up and be like ‘ooo, that’s pretty, she looks like me.'”