Last night we were treated to a great night of television. Donald Glover’s Atlanta premiered on FX & Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar premiered on OWN. Two great, Black shows for the win.
Unfortunately, both shows came on at the same time, but because both came on more than once, it was possible to catch both. I’ll start with Atlanta. When I first saw the show’s trailer, I was interested in it based on it being from Donald Glover. I have been a fan of his for years and I knew that if he was involved it would be promising. The show is about a man who left college all of a sudden, is now struggling with livelihood, raising a young daughter with a woman who he has a complicated relationship with, & trying to find a way to make something happen. That’s when he realizes that his cousin is a rising star in Atlanta’s rap scene & decides to try & use that as a vehicle to take off. The trailer did not do the show justice. The show was hilarious from the very first scene. The show is very well-written, having an entirely Black writing staff. Yes, the show is about Atlanta, but it is also about the Black community at large. From complicated relationships to dealing with adulthood, to so many people wanting to be rappers, the show has already addressed a good range of experiences just in the first hour. It also tackled issues like the use of the n-word, the influence of rappers, gun violence, & homophobia/transphobia. But it does so in such a funny way that it’s not even remotely preachy. It is very sarcastic & tongue in cheek. I found myself wanting to watch it again immediately. I already know that it is going to be one of my new favorite shows.
Then there’s Queen Sugar. Queen Sugar is just an incredible experience. It is beautiful, smart, well-written, well-acted, well-directed, and just all around good. Oprah blessed us by making it commercial-free and the entire episode kept eyes locked to the screen. It is one of the best things I’ve seen on TV in quite some time. It addressed so many things in such an elegant way. It is first and foremost a family drama, but it is so naturally & fluidly done that it runs like real-life. So many beautiful brown people & so much deep, heartfelt emotion. The show is set in New Orleans & it is about the Bordelon family. Their father is a struggling farmer, while each of the siblings is off into their own lives struggling with relationships, parenting, & right & wrong. It stars Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe, & Dawn-Lyen Gardner as the siblings as well as an expansive, incredible list of other castmates. It is based on the book by Natalie Baszile & from the first episode evokes so many strong emotions. Yesterday was just the first in the 2 day premiere, which continues tonight.
If you did not see either show, do yourself a favor & watch asap. It is TV at it’s best & Black life at it’s more true & wonderful. Although both premiered at the same time, going forward Atlanta will be on FX Tuesday nights at 10/9c & Queen Sugar will be on OWN at 10/9c. I am so excited to see how these series develops. Thank you to the amazing casts & crews & I will absolutely be tuned in every week for these brilliant shows.