Queen Sugar Season: All the Borders Recap

Charley – Charley needs to sit down. She has endured numerous challenges since moving to St. Josephine and Queen Sugar mill being burned down was the icing on the cake. Charley might have a nervous breakdown. Understandably so. I can’t even count how many challenges she ran into regarding the mill – from renovating it, to getting funding to open, to hosting her own St. Josephine Sugar Bowl, to operating the business despite the Landrys’ sabotage attempts and getting local farmers to grind their cane at Queen Sugar.

My girl needs a vacation. She should go on a cruise or to an exotic resort in the Caribbean with her mother, Lorna. Charley needs to decompress and refresh. Plus, Charley has options. She could return to Los Angeles, restart her sports management company and still advocate for underrepresented and underserved communities. Hell, she could even combine the two by convincing her clients to invest in minority-focused initiatives.

Charley has no obligation to the sugarcane industry, to St. Josephine or to running for city councilwoman. It would not be her giving up. It would be her starting anew and doing what she’s excellent at in a less stressful environment without threats against Micah’s life.

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Photo: Skip Bolen © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Courtesy of OWN.

Micah – I am proud of Micah. He confronted Nova about her relationship with Calvin and questioned whether her former cop boyfriend watched his colleagues brutalize black men. For once, the so-called activist was speechless. There were no excuses she could pull out of her self-righteous ass. Finally, someone prompted Nova to think about her actions.

Nova – She wore a decent outfit this episode. Typically, her outfits look like trash bags. Any who, she asked Calvin if he abused black men he arrested. He said no but admitted to being a bystander to police brutality was easier than trying to stop it.

Ralph Angel and Darla – Understanding Darla needs a comrade, Ralph Angel cannot be her go-to 24/7. I hope Darla asks her Mom to visit for a few weeks. Despite people’s criticisms of Darlene Sutton, she is a loving and supportive mother. I want Darla to have a friend. She deserves goodness in her life.

Ralph Angel and Deesha – Though Deesha has been extremely supportive, her and Ralph Angel should not enter a romantic relationship. Deesha is a strong, resilient, and confident woman who has been self-sufficient for a long time. She balances her law career while raising her young daughter as a single mother. Understanding Deesha and Ralph Angel share similarities of being single parents and navigating adversities while pursuing their respective careers, viewers only see how she uplifts him. Their budding relationship has not been reciprocal. There have been too many instances in reality TV and fictional television where healthy, black heterosexual relationships are depicted as the man loving what the woman does for him and the woman accepting her partner as he is while raising him which is highly dysfunctional. Though Ralph Angel has experienced tremendous growth, he has not been self-sufficient for long.

Prosper – I love Prosper. He’s such an adorable, wise elderly man. He politely corrected Nova regarding watching Ernest bury a white man’s body on the family land. Prosper revealed Ernest brutally beat a white man who came to hurt Nova. He also revealed Ernest almost killed him until he heard True’s voice, buried the man’s bloody clothes and took him to the hospital. Essentially, Nova’s recollection of the story was false.

Photo: Skip Bolen © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Courtesy of OWN.

Aunt Vi and Sam Landry – What the hell was that meeting at Vi’s Pies about? Their interaction felt like they played more than footsies in grade school. It reminded me of something Francis Boudreaux revealed to Charley this episode.

“Just like Sam and all the other men in our family. They risk diluting our bloodlines but they always come home in the end.’’  – Francis Boudreaux

Essentially, she implied Landry-Boudreaux men dated outside of their race but married white women in the end.

Though Sam claimed he did not burn down the mill, I would imagine he knows who did. Since season one, every interaction Sam had with the Bordelons has been unpleasant. There was an arrogant and sinister air to him. So why is he being kind to Aunt Vi? What does Sam owe Aunt Vi?

I would image nobody knows about their interaction or alleged previous relationship including Hollywood. But I’m okay with it. If Nova knew, her ass would have included it in her book.

What are your thoughts on the episode?

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Love and Listings Series Premiere Recap

Love and Listings follows several real estate agents navigating LA’s luxury real estate landscape. After watching the series premiere, I’m good.

For years, I watched Fredrik Eklund and Ryan Serhant close multi-million dollar deals among Manhattan’s elite on Million Dollar Listing New York. However, I recognized there were no black real estate brokers or agents in sight.

When I first saw Love and Listings promo, I expected positive representation. That’s not what I saw last night. Jacob Knight, the son of Suge Knight is navigating his real estate career, dealing with his father’s expectations and dealing with living in his father’s shadow. Although it’s a unique storyline, I would have preferred Jacob not mention being Suge Knight’s son every two seconds. I would rather see him networking, taking meetings and closing deals. He already set the impression in my mind, “Suge Knight’s son is in it versus Jacob is hustling for success in LA’s luxury real estate landscape.”

In addition, Jacob’s friend Taylor is a hustler. She passed the real estate exam within the first attempt and has an apartment in Hollywood at age 19. Though Taylor’s ambition is apparent, she can be arrogant at times and perceived as an entitled millennial who thinks she knows everything to play in the big leagues.

Ayani is new to both Los Angeles and the luxury real estate industry. While she builds her resume, she works at a restaurant to pay her bills. Though Ayani is eager, she made all the rookie mistakes you could make as a salesperson. During the episode, she showed Sean Kingston a $1.6 million apartment in downtown LA and revealed her nervousness and newness to real estate.

Ayani did not make a good impression. With luxury real estate being a small, competitive circle, Ayani’s naivete could reflect poorly on the firm she works for. Later in the episode, Sean told Ayani to lead the sale. Rarely does someone make all the rookie mistakes Ayani did and secure the opportunity. As a former salesperson, this would never fly which tells me the show is staged.

Moving along. Zac is a former football player turned real estate agent. However, his previous relationship with Samantha, another real estate agent could lead to an on-again fling turned me off. Though they are business colleagues and former lovers, it was unprofessional to show their sexual tension. As a black woman, it’s bothersome to watch black male entertainers deliberately date non-black women for clout and see television fetishize interracial dating like it’s a fashion trend. The whole scene was an eye roll.

Coming Attractions

Coming attractions showed celebrities like Ray J, Brandy and Jermaine Dupri looking for homes in LA. It also showed unnecessary drama such as drinks being thrown and Ayani flirting with a more experienced male colleague.

I’m upset with VH1. VH1 has been profiting off black audiences supporting ratchet reality television since Flavor of Love and I Love New York. Love and Listings had a unique opportunity to showcase successful black real estate professionals, their ups and downs and sprinkles of drama and romance.

There were series similar like Love and Marriage Huntsville. It chronicled the relationships of successful black entrepreneurial couples in Alabama. However, their actual businesses were a pivotal character in the series. In addition, Hot Listings Miami  followed successful Latinx real estate agents navigating Miami’s luxury real estate landscape. The drama factor: Katrina Campins, the main character worked with her ex-husband and it was a family-run business.

Unfortunately, Love and Listings shows amateur real estate agents with beautiful LA homes as the backdrop.

That’s my two cents.

If you watched, what did you think?

Why I Worry for Charley

Since season one, Charley Bordelon has had a lot on her plate. She managed her ex-husband’s career and business dealings for decades. Upon moving to St. Josephine after Ernest’s passing, Charley learned the sugarcane business and revived her family’s sugarcane farmland. Subsequently, she opened Queen Sugar mill and became the first black woman to own a mill in Louisiana. Now Charley is running for city councilwoman of St. Josephine to prevent the building of a highway that could displace black farmers’ land including the Bordelons.

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However, can she be in over her head? The protagonist recently learned Nova exposed Charley’s settlement with Davis’s mistress in her critically-acclaimed novel, learned Davis has a 13-year-old daughter, and received multiple death threats against Micah’s life. In addition, the single mother is learning to understand Micah’s new identity as a sociopolitically conscious African American man seeking to uplift his people and find his purpose.

Like many African American women, Charley struggles to balance it all and check in with herself. Though she has a budding romance with Romero, Charley has not processed everything taking place.

I am afraid for her. In the most recent episode By the Spit, an unknown individual threw a brick into Charley’s office. It reminded me of the scene in Remember the Titans when an unknown suspect threw a brick into Coach Boone’s home (played by Denzel Washington) because he was leading the town’s first integrated football team much to pro-segregationists’ dismay.

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DOUG MILLS / AFP / GETTY

It also reminded me of watching Barack Obama smile ear-to-ear and wave to his supporters after winning the 2008 presidential election. My 14-year-old self did not understand why I was fearful something terrible would happen. Reflecting back on the historical moment, I was afraid the former president’s security detail would not protect him based on his skin color. I was afraid that as Obama made history becoming the first African American president in the United States, the hope he gave could be taken away from a sudden bullet to his head.

Doubting Queen Sugar will kill off Charley Bordelon, I feared it. African Americans have endured much trauma from the assassinations of civil rights icons like Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. They provided hope and were killed by the same oppressive forces trying to keep African Americans down.

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Photo by Skip Bolen © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Courtesy of OWN.

[/caption]Charley is leading a political campaign within a segregated town known for racial discrimination and known for using lynchings as fear tactics to prevent African Americans from pursuing advancement opportunities. As Charley campaigns, I hope she hires protection for herself and her family immediately.

How do you check in with yourself when you are overwhelmed?

Queen Sugar: The Evolution of Darla Sutton

Darla has undergone a beautiful transformation from a fragile, untrustworthy recovering addict to a strong, resilient woman. During the entire series, she has been trying to redeem herself from her past drug addiction. Darla Sutton went from being my least favorite character to one of my favorite characters on Queen Sugar. Here’s how.

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Source: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Season 1 

When Darla got sober and expressed interest in reentering Blue’s life, she was met with resistance by the Bordelon family. Understandably so. During season one, it was revealed Hollywood found her in a compromising position with a john and Blue sitting in the room. As a result, Hollywood rescued Blue and Aunt Vi got full custody of him. I could imagine the Bordelons thought only an unstable human being would put their child in danger. For this reason, I thought, “Okay. It’s unforgivable. She’s an addict. She’ll relapse sooner or later.”

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Photo Source: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Season 2 

However, the writers did an excellent job expanding Darla’s storyline in season two. We saw Darla committed to making an honest living, committed to being a present and responsible mother to Blue and a good companion to Ralph Angel. She is excited about the future of her family and upcoming marriage to Ralph Angel. When Darla’s parents visit, it is revealed Blue’s paternity is speculative. Darla’s father encourages her to tell Ralph Angel. Though she was afraid of shattering the picture-perfect family she was building with Ralph Angel, Darla tells him the truth. It was a courageous move. Was it wrong to lie? Yes. However, Darla knew she would enter the marriage with a guilty conscious thus dooming their union. As predicted, Ralph Angel ended their relationship and the newfound trust the Bordelons built for Darla was broken permanently.

When Darla recalls the party she attended in DC and what took place, she described it as, “It just kept happening.” This statement made me believe Darla was repeatedly raped while under the influence of drugs thus explaining the uncertainty regarding Blue’s paternity. Though the truth costs her important relationships and her job, the season two finale marked a new journey for Darla: a life fully redeemed without lies – a clean slate.

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Photo Source: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Season 3 

During season three, Darla returns after a few months of living with her parents in DC. She comes back to St. Josephine with a new look, new attitude, new car and a new house. Darla remains sober and dedicated to being the best mother to Blue. But when a resentful Ralph Angel deliberately keeps Blue away from her, Darla takes matters into her own hands by fighting for custody. She becomes unapologetic for her new life and stands up to Ralph Angel. Unfortunately, this leads to an intense custody battle which later results in them agreeing to spend an equal amount of time with Blue.

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Photo Source: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Season 4 

Now Darla is in a new relationship with a tall, nice guy she enjoys. But when she reads Blessings and Blood, she discovers Nova wrote about her addiction and used her street name Star – which all the johns in St. Josephine called Darla. She shows up at Nova’s doorstep and confronts her says, “You’re worse than I ever was.”

When I saw that I said, “Oh shoot.” First of all, I never knew Darla knew Nova’s address. Secondly, when Nova opened the door, Darla looked like she was ready to fight and could actually win. There was so much rage and fury in her eyes for good reason. Nova violated her and Blue’s privacy. Their altercation represented a pivotal moment in Darla’s evolution. She has become more confident in how she respects herself and how she demands respect from others.

My Hopes for Darla

I hope Darla does not relapse. Though she may get ridiculed or harassed by St. Josephine residents, I hope Darla perceives the situation as an opportunity to continue to live unapologetically for her past and current decisions.

Can we live unapologetically despite the people who knew us at our lowest points? Can we truly let go of our pasts? Comment below.

Queen Sugar: Where My Body Stops or Begins

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Aunt Vi’s abusive ex-husband, Jimmy Dale played by David Alan Grier returns to St. Josephine after 30 years. Both the sound of Jimmy’s voice and the sight of him makes Violet faint. When she reveals to Hollywood who he is, Hollywood coerces Jimmy out of town. However, Jimmy Dale shows up on Aunt Vi’s doorstep. Violet got a knock on the door, opens the main door, and sees him standing there. He looked like the big bad wolf standing at Aunt Vi’s door. Jimmy asks her to let him in the house. She opens the door frightened and hypnotized simultaneously. “Aunt Vi, no! Why would you let him in?” I yelled.

Knowing his past, I became afraid for Violet. Jimmy had full control. He entered Violet’s home as if he still owned it and as if she was his property. He could have raped and killed Aunt Vi. Jimmy made disrespectful comments about Hollywood, talked about Violet’s house being his, and violated her personal space by touching Violet’s stomach. As a result, Nova and Aunt Vi pushed him out the house. A furious Hollywood gets out his car, sends him to the ground and repeatedly punches Jimmy.

When Jimmy leaves with a bloody face and dirt-covered clothes, it is revealed Nova found him to get his version of his marriage to Aunt Vi for Blessings and Blood. Consequently, Aunt Vi disowns Nova stating, “Don’t leave flowers on my grave.” A tearful Nova walks out of her aunt’s house feeling the gravity of Violet’s statement. Oddly enough, I was pleased. Reality hit Nova like a ton of bricks that damn near knocked the protagonist-turned-antagonist on her ass. Nova realizes the consequences of her actions are irreversible.

Tina Lifford and David Alan Grier did an incredible job embodying a domestic violence survivor and abusive man respectively in this week’s episode. I am accustomed to watching David in comedies like 90s classics In Living Color and Boomerang.

Ralph Angel, Darla and Blue

Ralph Angel reveals to Darla that Nova wrote about Blue and her drug addiction in Blessings and Blood. My hope is Darla does not relapse. She has worked diligently to maintain her sobriety and build a new life for herself. Blessings and Blood threatens Blue’s privacy and safety, Darla’s reputation, and her career. No matter what I hope she does not let old habits overpower the progress she has made. I have grown to love her character for her multiple dimensions, complexities, vulnerability, courage, and subtle strength.

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Charley and Micah

Since Micah’s return from Paris and reading Blessings and Blood, they continue to clash. When he receives a death threat, he gives it to Charley. She replies, “I’ll handle it.” Initially, Micah is confused by Charley’s reaction. Then Charley reveals she was mailed several death threats against Micah and sent him to Paris for the summer with security unbeknownst to him. “Let me protect you,” she says.

It was a checkmate move. This is the reason why Charley is my favorite character. She is always several steps ahead, calculated, sharp and precise. Despite Micah’s thoughts regarding how his mother handles certain situations, he knows she will do anything to protect him.

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The Landry-Boudreauxs

Learning the Landrys are angry with Charley for stopping a jail from being built in St. Josephine and the warning Jacob Boudreaux gave her, I’m worried. Sam Landry changed the shareholder bylaws allowing relatives to be present at shareholder meetings, essentially, icing Charley out. During season one, we learned the Landrys owned the Bordelons during slavery, the Bordelons became sharecroppers post-slavery, and the Landrys tried to take the farmland by lynching several Bordelon family members including Aunt Vi and Ernest’s father. Whatever they are planning is not good.

Charley has to go into 110% beast mode. When Charley told Ralph Angel she was building the mill with or without him in season one, you saw a hunger in her eyes and a determination to achieve her goal. Knowing she’s wounded from Nova exploiting her life and dealing with Micah’s safety, she can’t do it by herself. I believe this is a war and everyone has to be ready. I think she will need help from Ralph Angel, Aunt Vi, Davis, her Mom and former colleagues in the sports management industry.

Let me know your thoughts below.

Queen Sugar: No Longer Imagine

 

When Charley confronts Nova about Blessings and Blood, she reads a book excerpt which states, “My sister, born to privilege, raised in wealth and half-bathed in whiteness used her light skin as her shield and her sword. Weapons in every room she entered, in every deal she made, in every woman she sacrificed and for every man she protected. Her honey skin kept her safe. All the while keeping her complicit in the continued oppression of black bodies.”

This statement confirms my theory since season 1. Nova hates her sister and is jealous of Charley’s light-skinned privilege. During season 1, Nova said, “Charley has had sugar coated on top of shit her whole life.” How would you know, Nova? It is likely Nova  carried deep resentment for Charley since childhood. Oddly enough, it makes sense. Her sister is a constant reminder of Ernest leaving True and Nova for Lorna, Charley’s mother.

I will take a moment to empathize with the broken little girl in Nova Bordelon. I could not imagine watching my Dad leave my mother and I to start another family.  I could only imagine how incredibly painful, confusing and angering it was for a little girl to experience this. Consequently, Nova felt abandoned and neglected by Ernest.

However, Charley is not her pain. Charley can not help how she came into the world. Nova Bordelon made assumptions Charley lived a wealthy, privileged life as a half-black woman. I believe Nova thought about Charley’s clothes, boarding school, expensive lifestyle, the prestigious universities she attended, and assumed it was handed to her. In Nova’s mind, Charley got the better end of the stick.

I understand why a child would make those assumptions. When I was a teenager, I was jealous of a friend. Everybody liked her because of her bubbly and kind personality. Numerous boys vied for her affection in grade school. One of those boys talked to me and then tried to date my friend. She was pretty, light-skinned, curvy and had rich parents.  I thought she had the dream life.

I was brown-skinned, not curvaceous and from a middle class family. I never felt accepted by other kids. I wanted boys to find me attractive. I wanted to have tons of friends. Honestly, I sought self-acceptance and self-love in the wrong ways. Yet, I took my self-hatred out on my friend.

As an adult, I realized my wrongdoings, took accountability for my actions and took steps to love myself versus comparing myself to others. However, Nova’s brokenness does not excuse her constant disrespect towards the Bordelon clan. In Blessings and Blood, Nova claims Charley promotes rape culture by sacrificing women. This implies Charley lacks respect for women. But what about Nova’s lack of respect for women?

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She continued her relationship with Calvin, a married man and father of two. She took $10,000 out of her siblings’ joint business account, an account created solely for business purposes such as agricultural tools needed for the sugar cane. In addition, Charley carried the financial responsibility of the account. Though the funds were used to pay the bail of Too Sweet, a young man abused in prison for a small possession of marijuana, Nova did not ask permission. When Charley confronted Nova, she became defensive and attacked Charley for her decision to pay a settlement to Davis’s mistress. She took no accountability for her actions.

I look forward to the next episode. More importantly, I look forward to seeing flashbacks of Nova’s childhood including her and Ernest’s father-daughter dynamic, mother-daughter dynamic, the day Ernest and True ended their relationship and the day he left St. Josephine. Maybe “it will all make sense,” as Nova says.

Until next time, let me know your thoughts below.

Why It’s Important for Nova to Crumble

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Source: The Oprah Winfrey Network

My initial reaction after the season premiere of Queen Sugar…….to see Nova dragged through the dirty swamp her and Remy kissed at. I wanted to see Chantal, her former lover expose Nova’s hypocrisy on the radio and interview Calvin, Nova’s ex-boyfriend.

During the season trailer, it showed a younger Nova backing away from a man in a field at night. I hope the writers show flashbacks of True Bordelon, Nova and Ralph Angel’s mother. None of the characters mentioned how True died throughout the series. It’s clear True’s death is a sore subject too painful for the family to discuss. However, I think it plays a part in Nova’s unaddressed trauma.

Remember the episode when the siblings argued about Ernest’s will? Nova spazzed out. She verbally attacked Ralph Angel and projected her feelings of being overlooked by Ernest during their childhood onto her brother. Prior to storming out Aunt Vi’s house, Nova retreated to a bedroom, opened a box and retrieved a picture of her adolescent self standing next to True. After a conversation with Aunt Vi, she boards a plane to Atlanta and meets Dr. DuBois. She never dealt with whatever feelings she had.

Over the course of Queen Sugar’s three seasons, all siblings except Nova have had a major transformation. Ralph Angel has become more mentally and emotionally mature. He’s helping parolees, consistently tending to his family’s land, and providing a successful co-parenting environment for Blue. Despite the attacks on his character by Darla’s mother, Ralph Angel handled Blue’s custody battle with Darla and Darlene graciously. Most importantly, he continues to love Blue as his biological son.

Charley has also undergone a major transformation. Initially, she migrated from Los Angeles to St. Josephine to revive her father’s sugar cane business in the wake of Ernest’s untimely death. However, Charley has proven her commitment to the economic empowerment of black farmers and the celebration of local black-owned businesses. Charley has used her sharp business acumen to uplift St. Josephine’s black community. She has built a new life for herself – it’s no longer about money, power and image but change within St. Josephine’s sugar cane business landscape, advocating for the rights of African-Americans and fighting against St. Josephine’s racist law enforcement and economic system controlled by the Landrys and Boudreaus.

Unfortunately, Nova has not changed. Viewers have not seen the protagonist-turned-antagonist fully process being spat in the face. We have seen Nova repeatedly assault Charley and Ralph Angel verbally with little apology and soft, empathetic and compassionate talks from Aunt Vi. Once again, we watched her disrespect Charley by dating Remy. Consequently, she dealt with Charley’s physical and emotional distance from her briefly. Overall, Nova has never truly experienced the consequences of her actions. This season, I predict she will.

Dawn-Lyen Gardner aka Charley Bordelon said during a 2016 SAG-AFTRA conversation, “Her [Charley] life has to crumble to make contact with herself.”

I believe the same for Nova. I believe ostracizing herself from the family unintentionally will force Nova to confront her trauma. I believe this is a good thing. Nova’s passion for change and uplifting her community is evident. It’s one of the reasons viewers love her character. However, I do not think Nova can be the true agent of change she desires until she heals from her trauma.

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Source: The Oprah Winfrey Network

Writers, Please Address Darla is a Sexual Assault Survivor

I understand why some people view Darla as trifling due to her drug addiction, prostitution, child negligence, and hiding her uncertainty regarding Blue’s paternity. But Darla deserves respect. During the episode when her parents visit, she stated, “It just kept happening,” when describing to her mother what happened to her in DC years ago.  I think she was repeatedly raped thus not knowing Blue’s biological father. I believe Darla continued her drug addiction to cope. Darla has been drug-free for over two years, maintains a stable job, present in Blue’s life and successfully co-parenting with Ralph Angel. Therefore, I suggest viewers identify Darla as a survivor and a changed woman.

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No Character Better Not Die

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I don’t believe the writers will because the series is family-driven and demonstrates the intersection of their individual journeys. Though Aunt Vi has lupus, she’s the anchor. It is unlikely the writers will kill Micah. It would ruin Charley beyond repair and the show would be over. Ralph Angel just got off parole. If Ralph Angel gets involved in illegal activity or an arrest resulting in his death, Queen Sugar’s direction would become adjacent to Good Times. When Thelma’s fiancé Keith was drafted to the NFL, Thelma and the Evans clan were excited to finally get out of the ghetto. As the happy newlyweds walk down the aisle, his ass tumbles thanks to JJ. Consequently, Keith’s NFL career ended before it started. If that wasn’t one of the series’ most depressing episodes, I don’t know what is.

Let me know what you think below.