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"Queen Sugar" Is Taking On National Anthem Protests

The Ava DuVernay series takes a stand on kneeling in the Season 3 premiere.

Posted on May 30, 2018, at 10:24 a.m. ET

Queen Sugar is wasting no time getting political. The hit OWN drama kicked off its third season with a national anthem protest on the heels of the NFL's new anthem policy.

Skip Bolen / OWN

The family drama, created by showrunner Ava DuVernay, is known to address topical social justice issues in the black community.

In the episode, four black students peacefully take a knee at center court during the national anthem at a local high school basketball game the Bordelons are attending.


The crowd from the opposing, predominantly white school is upset by the protest and reacts by holding up the Confederate flag and yelling angry remarks at the students protesting.


"You want to disrespect our flag, get off the court. Go back to where you came from," comes one yell from the crowd. The decision to add the Confederate flag, which is commonly associated with the values of the Confederacy (including being pro-slavery), is a strong statement from the series, as many have directly linked opposition to the protests with racism.

The protesters are removed by security before the end of the song, but not before some of the high school basketball players join in.


Nova later meets with the protesting students for an interview where they confirm that, like the real-life protesters, they are attempting to bring attention to the police brutality in their town.


"Everyone around here has a loved one who has been beaten, locked up, or shot dead [by the police]. We're sitting here trying to bring a voice to the injustices we breathe every morning we wake up and walk out that door," says the girl, the clear leader of the group.

"If those big-time politicians are going to ignore us, like they did in Ferguson, pretend we don't exist, we'll go straight to the people," she adds with a smile.

This isn't the first time DuVernay has used the show or her other work to address police brutality, and it looks like it'll be a running theme this season. That's not surprising since, unfortunately, it's something black families in the US continue to deal with.


In past seasons, we've seen Nova's activism against the justice system through her grassroots work and journalism. Now that Charlie knows about the police brutality her own son endured, it appears she's getting involved with working to expose their local department's abuse against black bodies as well.

The premiere also confirms the fear planted last season that Blue is indeed not Ralph Angel's son.

Skip Bolen / OWN

After last season's heartbreaking revelation from Darla that Ralph Angel may not be Blue's father, the youngest Bordelon sibling goes to get a paternity test to know once and for all. As devastated as he is by the news, Ralph Angel reacts by saying, "This don't change nothing," indicating that he plans to remain the father figure in Blue's life. This plot twist opens the door for a lot of dialogue about the meaning of fatherhood and paternity in the black community.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.