Ava DuVernay, the first Black female director to ever be nominated for a Golden Globe Award (Selma), hosted a private screening for her new drama series Queen Sugar over the weekend at ESSENCE’s annual festival.
The show, DuVernay’s first foray into television, is adapted from the novel by Natalie Baszile and follows siblings, Nova Bordelon and Charley Bordelon, who, returns to her family home in Louisiana with her son to rebuild the family’s sugar cane farm she inherited with her estranged siblings.
The all woman directed series, with 13 hour-long episodes co-directed and produced by DuVernay, stars True Blood actress, Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, and Tina Lifford—who all attended the screening in New Orleans along with special guests Michelle Williams, Janelle Monae, Common, and Omari Hardwick from Starz’s Power
Oprah Winfrey attended ESSENCE Fest for the first time to introduce the show and talk about her experience teaming up with DuVernay again since Selma to work on the project.
— REVOLT TV (@RevoltTV) July 3, 2016
Invited guests took to Twitter to express their excitement after viewing the pilot episode.
There will be millions touched by the story brought to life known as #QueenSugar! I connected with so much. I saw myself, I saw family!
— Michelle Williams (@RealMichelleW) July 3, 2016
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) July 2, 2016
— Ariel Foxman (@ArielFoxman) July 2, 2016
— Sylvia Obell (@SylviaObell) July 2, 2016
— Tai Beauchamp (@taibeau) July 2, 2016
— Nicole Sperling (@nicsperling) July 2, 2016
— MichaelaAngela Davis (@MichaelaAngelaD) July 2, 2016
Black Twitter: If y'all don't have OWN you REALLY gonna need to figure out how to get that shit #QueenSugar
— Mankaprr R. Conteh (@RahmanServes) July 2, 2016
OWN’s Queen Sugar premieres with a two night special on September 6 and 7th with regular episodes airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Check out the first peak of the series below.