“Queen Sugar” returned to OWN last Tuesday and we were so excited to meet the brand new addition to the Bordelon family!
BOSSIP Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with Rutina Wesley and Bianca Lawson about the seventh and final season of “Queen Sugar” and how their characters Darla and Nova both had to regain the trust of their family.
Rutina Wesley spoke about the hardships she experienced playing Nova at the time she wrote her book and how the whole cast gave her the silent treatment!
Rutina Wesley Says “Queen Sugar” Castmates Gave Her The Silent Treatment Over Nova’s Book
“It was difficult,” Rutina Wesley told BOSSIP about Nova’s time being estranged from her family. “No one liked me. It was not a fun time to be on set. I did not have a good time doing it and I never want to do it again.”
“I’m such a lover so I was just like, (gasps) it was hitting me hard because like, ‘You’re not talking to me,’” Wesley continued. “I was like, this is going to be like this for the whole season. It was really difficult to do because I love all of them so much so it was just kind of hard but it was beautiful for Nova to see as a journalist you can stand in your truth, but when you try to tell someone else’s truth without permission things get a little off and people don’t take nicely to that.”
“I think she kind of had to learn the hard way but what I loved about her and what she learned in her journey was she didn’t let it break her and she didn’t let it stop her. She kept going until she regained their trust and their forgiveness and ultimately their healing. What you see with some of her family members is them saying, ‘Hey I may not have liked that, but it was great because now I’m actually feeling like a better person.’ It was tough to go through that, but seeing her growth on the other side of it — I loved seeing her growth in her journey, but the hardest thing for me as an actress was to play because when you have no love coming from nowhere. It was hard for me but it was something that was beautiful to see that it didn’t stop her. I don’t know anyone but a Nova that would go and sit in a restaurant and wait for your aunt to come and serve you. She’s just going to sit there until she comes. She was going to come in every day until she decides to talk to you. That’s persistence and I think her family loved that about her, but I think they also had to teach her a hard love. A tough love lesson.”
During a visit to the “Queen Sugar” set in New Orleans this summer “Queen Sugar” creator Ava DuVernay spoke to BOSSIP about how public opinion about Bianca Lawson’s character Darla has changed since the show’s premiere.
Ava Duvernay Says People “Hated” Darla During The First Season Of “Queen Sugar”
“You know who people hated the first season?” DuVernay asked us. “Abhorred — thought she was the worst person ever — was Darla. People hated Darla the first season and now she is one of the most beloved characters. You have to know as a writer that you’re on your track for the story.”
Ironically, Bianca Lawson told BOSSIP she didn’t feel the hatred DuVernay spoke about.
“It’s interesting, at least people in my feed were really kind to me. I didn’t feel like this intense vitriol, but I also don’t take it personally because for me it’s the character,” Lawson said. “I’m portraying an actual human that’s dark and light and makes human choices. So it’s never my intention to purposely be likable and win people over. You make the art you make and it lands where it lands. My job isn’t to win them over or get them to like me, it’s ‘Does this feel honest? Does it feel truthful?’
Sometimes you think, ‘my character would never do such a thing,’ but I don’t do that, because, in life, you don’t know. Put in the right circumstance, you might do something you’d NEVER do or react how you thought you’d never react. Something could happen where one person might get enraged where another person would shut completely down. I try to just give myself the room to follow through whatever the impulse is. Sometimes something is written on a page, Rutina and I have talked about this alot too, in terms of actor scenes. What’s fun for me is experimentation. You can get something on a page, but when you get with each actor you have different chemistry, where you can get with another person and it’s so unique it becomes something else. Or suddenly looking at Rutina and I thought I was going to be angry but now I want to cry. So to allow me the room to do that and do weird shit, and do things that might fail. I love that you got to have all the colors because I think it would be boring if she was just you know — and to get to do it with actors that you can do it with that kind of depth and that intensity and fearlessness where ‘I might be making a fool of myself but I’m going to go for it. I’m doing it. It may or may not work.’ And then they bounce the ball back. I love that people feel like they understand her to better know and understand why her journey became the journey it became, and what the root of that was, but for me mostly for women who have had similar journeys I wanted to do justice to that for them.
After seven seasons of working together as family, we asked the actresses about their favorite moments from working on “Queen Sugar.”
“We had a cast dinner that ended up being four-plus hours,” Bianca Lawson told BOSSIP. “It was right before we shot the finale and everybody was going around sharing what the experience meant to them and maybe where their lives were before they started the show versus where they are now and all the things that have happened because of that. To me, I love that. Because sometimes you spend seven years with people and everyone is like, ready to pull each other’s hair out. The level of vulnerability in the room, it was just really touching. We really went through all these things together, through the characters, but also a lot of us had a lot of deep things in real life. So to get to be carrying whatever we were carrying personally at the time and also to get to channel it through the work with people that you feel safe with was a real gift.
Rutina Wesley opened up about some of her favorite memories of working with Dawn-Lyen Gardner, who played her younger sister Charley Bordelon West. Gardner just recently posted to social media about not joining the cast for Season 7 ahead of the premiere last week.
“Something about that first season just hits different,” Wesley told BOSSIP. “I still love the scene with me and Charley, played by Dawn-Lyen, the catering scene where I’m like, ‘Get those people out that yard.’ And she’s like, ‘it’s just some linens and some tables.’ I still love that scene because when we did it you could hear a pin drop on stage. Nobody was talking. People were like, ‘Are they fighting? Are they okay?’ People thought we were really fighting.”
“That coupled with the scene where Ernest passes away and Dawn ran into my arms, I love that moment because we didn’t practice it. She ran full speed and I caught her in mid-air. She did it because she knew I would catch her. She knew I would be right there for her and sometimes you’ve got to talk about that stuff first. You gotta be like, ‘Hey you got me? You gonna catch me?’But because we knew each other so deeply and we went to school together, she knew she could trust me. Those two are some of my favorite moments because it wasn’t really planned, it was just something that happened because of the energy in the room. Because me and Dawn knew each other we could act with each other so deeply in a way that we couldn’t do with other actors, it just took time. With Dawn there was no question, we just got to it. I love that and those are moments I’m grateful for because I know I might go somewhere else on another set and you don’t get that same energy back and people aren’t trusting and I hold on to something like that because that’s just how it is. It’s also some of the best acting I’ve done in my life. I’m sad that it’s over.”
Bianca Lawson Talks About Darla’s Motherhood Journey On “Queen Sugar”
Lawson also spoke about playing a mother of two in Season 7 and how working with her onscreen baby was her favorite part of the final season.
“I will say Daci who is the baby’s real name, was probably my favorite co-star this season,” Lawson told BOSSIP.
We previously spoke with Lawson about Darla’s second chance at motherhood during our “Queen Sugar” set visit in July.
“Me personally, I have fallen madly in love with Daci, who is the actress who plays my six-month-old, that’s been personally enjoyable for me.” Lawson told BOSSIP at the time. “Because she couldn’t be the kind of mother for Blue, she’s really wanting to make up for this and she’s a different person now. She’s gone through so many things, that I think when you have that life experience and those trials and you push through them and come to the other side of them, it makes you a fuller richer deeper stronger person so I think yes it’s a very different experience for her, but I think also as a whole family unit. It’s different for all of them, for where she’s with Ralph Angel and Blue. It’s really beautiful.”
Season 7 of “Queen Sugar” airs Tuesday nights at 8pm EST on OWN