Oprah Winfrey Network announced today that production will resume in New Orleans for the fifth season of the critically acclaimed series “Queen Sugar” from creator Ava DuVernay. Produced by Warner Bros. Television and ARRAY Filmworks, “Queen Sugar” previously began filming in March 2020 before shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lauded series, executive produced by DuVernay and Paul Garnes, has resumed production on the remainder of the 10-episode season, with the series slated to return to air on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in 2021.
As filming halted and the world faced multiple upheavals throughout 2020, DuVernay decided to completely revamp the season to address the very real issues our country is facing through the lens of the beloved Bordelon family and the fictional community of St. Josephine. DuVernay reconceived the character arcs and storylines, writing alongside returning showrunner Anthony Sparks and co-executive producer Norman Vance to tackle head-on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protest movement that swept the country, and the lead-up to elections to showcase the specific impact and ramifications these issues have on communities and people of color. Through it all, viewers will see the joy around the pain, and humanity’s ability to persevere and find light in the darkest of times.
The fifth season’s directorial lineup includes previous “Queen Sugar” episodic director Lauren Wolkstein, who has been promoted to producing director, alongside helmers Lisa France and Cierra Glaude. This season continues DuVernay’s initiative since the series’ inception to hire an all-female directing team, 32 of whom made their television directorial debut on the series. The inclusive hiring extends in front of and behind the camera, with female department heads from casting to post-production and music supervision.
“Queen Sugar” was recently recognized by the Television Academy Honors for its powerful portrayal of an African-American family in the Deep South that sheds light on complex issues and challenges facing our society. Led by the talented cast of Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe, “Queen Sugar’s” storylines have delved into important topics such as police brutality, addiction and recovery, and systemic racism. The series has additionally been awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and for three consecutive years was named Best TV Show Drama by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and nominated as Television Show of the Year by the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
The first four seasons of “Queen Sugar” are available to stream exclusively on Hulu, making it possible for viewers to catch up on all past episodes.