Thank You ‘Queen Sugar’ for Helping Me Cope

Queen Sugar is one of the best shows on television right now and I’ve only seen one episode.

My thoughts are all over the place with simultaneous feelings of excitement and inspiration while on the other hand, sadness and yearning for comfort. I’ve never experienced this from a TV show before, but I do remember this bittersweet or “sweet and bitter” feeling, as my pastor said to me in September of last year, when I found out my father was in his final days.

It was this exact date in 2015 when I got the call from my older sister that my dad was in the hospital and that it wasn’t looking good. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was filming at The African Festival of the Arts, a popular festival in Chicago, capturing footage of beautiful brown people of all shades and sizes, and enjoying the sweet sounds of Jeffery Osborne. It was also the day before I started my new job as Multimedia Producer of Digital Editorial at EBONY and JET.

I was nearing the end of my shift, and when I received that phone call, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My mind raced with thoughts of not having him to call on, and wondering if I did my part to help repair our strained relationship.

I couldn’t fully wrap my mind around the fact that my father was in his final days.

Sure, I could’ve dropped everything and packed up my equipment but I stayed until my task was done. I was hoping to cope with the news internally, as I often did, so that I could prepare myself for these last few days of my father’s life.

Watching the season premiere of Queen Sugar opened up that experience all over again. Nova, Charley, and Ralph Angel’s reaction to the news of their father’s final days exposed a wound that I discovered has yet to heal. When I think back to when I tried to remain hopeful that my father would pull through and be okay again, I can see pieces of me in each one of their characters.

One scene in particular that tugged at my heart was when Mr. Bordelon (I use ‘Mr.’ because I’ve gained respect for him through this episode as if he was a close friend’s father) called Charley to ask her about the scandal involving her husband and his team. It reminded me of when my dad called me, wanting to talk to me but I was always too busy to notice that he was hurting –physically and emotionally. Mr. Bordelon was letting her know that he “could use some time” with his daughter, someone who put her own issues above her relationship with her father.

Now, my father was not a perfect man, and I’d be lying if I said he was. But I knew that he was trying his best to reach me and my siblings because he knew his days were numbered.

As for Nova, the hardest thing to do is stay strong in a situation like this. Trying to pull out every solution or healing practice to make it all better again, that was me. Like Nova, I tried to stay strong and optimistic, while battling the thoughts of knowing that my dad could pass at any moment.

Lastly, Ralph Angel is such a delicate character. He’s doing whatever it takes to provide for his child. I even noticed throughout this episode that he seemed to be looking for comfort and validation from the other men in his family. Ralph Angel reminded me so much of my brother –the last remaining male of my father’s children. The bond between them was unbreakable and to see how much pressure was on my brother to be the “man” in the family hit me hard.

This show, for me, was divinely created. It encompasses all of the feelings of losing a father and all of the joy, sadness, and even drama that comes with it. The characters are very real and the pacing is just perfect. Not only does it make me reminisce about my father, but it also inspires me to create from my heart and spirit.

Thank you, Ava DuVernay and the talented cast for using your gifts to bring Queen Sugar to life.