By Sharee Silerio

In life, we all have moments that we want to wish away. Whether it’s losing a loved one, financial struggles, an illness, a dead end career or strained relationships, everyone is going through or trying to get through something.

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“Queen Sugar” is no different, which is why I love this show so much! It’s so real, and often reminds me of my life at the present time or of what I have experienced. The show’s representation of life, love, hurt, healing and self-discovery is beautiful.

This week’s episode carries a couple of major themes throughout it – control and fear. We fear what we cannot control and we try to control what we fear.

Charley, Micah, Aunt Vi and Darla demonstrate what fear looks like; in their facial expressions, actions, words and being. It’s amazing to witness how they learn that their fears are unfounded or how to push through them anyway.

This episode, titled “Caroling Dusk”, starts with Charley and Micah talking about their therapy session, Nova and Dr. Dubois connecting in love, Charley realizing that her childhood has crept its way into her adulthood, and Darla feeling the impact of her absence in Blue’s life.

Here is my “Reel Noire” recap of last night’s episode, on the sweet lessons that stood out to me:

1. There is nothing wrong with seeking therapy when you need it. Sometimes we need help to unpack the wounds, frustrations and struggles of the past and present in order to move forward in a healthy way.

In the beginning of the episode, Charley is sitting on a couch in an office calling Micah. He is supposed to be there for his first therapy session, but isn’t able to come. The therapist tells Charley that it’s helpful to talk to her client’s parents so she can help them better, but Charley wants to stick to her concerns with Micah. When Charley can’t weasel her way out of the situation, she takes a long, cautious breath.



2. Learn to take care of yourself before you let others take care of you. You don’t need anyone to rescue you. Rescue yourself.

Last week, Darla lost her job at the parking garage because she went to the farm to help Ralph Angel instead of completing her shift like her manager told her to. Since then, she’s been looking for a job so she can support herself, and Ralph Angel wants her to move in with him. She stays stands strong and tells him that she needs to be able to stand on her own two feet by herself.



3. Striving for perfection stunts personal growth. Progress is the road to freedom and fulfilling all of your potential. Instead of finding a way around obstacles, discover a way to get through them, and choose to learn something in the process.

During the impromptu therapy session, Charley ends up revealing that she felt like her mother wanted her to be perfect growing up. She calls Nova, who shows up to her house after sensing that she needs some sister time. Nova performs a home cleansing ritual then they talk over dinner. After discussing Micah and their new life in St. Josephine’s, Charley reminisces about how much she practiced playing the piano as a child, including the time she walked out of a recital in the middle of her performance because she couldn’t handle the pressure. She mentions that her mom told her she should find a new hobby and they never talked about it again.



4. Give yourself a fresh start each and every time you need it. Start over whenever, however, wherever and as often as you need to. Sometimes creating something from nothing is the only way to see things clearly.

At the same dinner, Nova tells Charley that her momma made her a control freak, adding that “You have a blank slate, with yourself and with Micah. Color it how you want.” Charley tells Nova, “Well, your slate is blank now, too.”



5. Fear is something we must get through in order to fully live this thing called life. We can’t avoid it. It will always exist in some form. Let fear motivate you to make a difference, to become and accomplish all you can be.

Micah and Davis walk into the gym when Davis says that they’re going to play a special basketball game. When either of them shoots a three-pointer, they get to ask the other a question, no topic off limits. Micah shoots a “3” first, then asks Davis a question. Davis shoots one next then asks Micah if the cops roughed him up. Micah responds then says that he felt out of control and was scared, and it was something he hadn’t experienced before. Davis replies, “Fear is a rite of passage for us. The question is, how do you use it to make yourself smarter and better.”



6. Building your dream from the ground up is tough. Resistance doesn’t mean that it’s time for you to give up. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. You have to keep on when things get difficult, when people tell you no, and especially when you don’t feel like it. You must believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, even when you don't believe in yourself.

After Hollywood taste-tests Aunt Vi’s pies, she takes them to local restaurants in the neighborhood to see if they’d like to sell them to their customers. The next day, she’s in the bed when Hollywood walks in the door. He asks her if she’s going to get out of the bed and she tells him that she doesn’t feel like dealing with people. She tears up while telling him that every place she went to said no. He asks her if she’s going to listen to sad songs all day, then says, “That ain’t the Vi I know...it was one day. One very hard, bad day. But you ain’t got to let it turn into two.”


7. The way you treat other people comes back to you, whether it’s good or bad. We’ve heard this many times before, but treat others the way you want to be treated. Reaping and sowing, also known as karma, is real.

Ralph Angel is in an alley, digging in a dumpster when two cops pull up on him (if you watched, then you know why he’s doing this, lol). As he shows his face to them, one of the cops recognizes him, and saves his behind. Toine, the cop who saves him, is a transgender man that Ralph Angel has been friends with for years. During their conversation about Darla and Ralph Angel’s protectiveness of Blue, Toine thanks Ralph Angel for supporting and looking out for him in high school and later in life.


Did you watch the fifth episode of “Queen Sugar”? What are some of your favorite moments?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


By Sharee Silerio

I look forward to “Queen Sugar” every week, especially its wisdom, authenticity and relatable depictions of work, relationships, romance, family, hurt and healing.

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In this episode, like many of the others, Charley and Ralph Angel butt heads – this time over Micah accidentally pushing Blue – but we also get to see them make up, in their shortest conflict so far.

What’s refreshing in the fourth episode, titled “My Soul’s High Song”; is the real, raw love Hollywood and Aunt Vi have for each other. We also get to see Charley’s business savvy in action, while Nova contemplates her next career move.

Once again, “Queen Sugar” surprises, encourages, teaches and keeps us wanting more.

Here is this week’s “Reel Noire” recap, on the sweet lessons that stood out in Wednesday night’s episode:

1. Working is just as important as relaxing. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do for the sake of doing. Take care of yourself and rest, so you can live life fully.

Hollywood completes his “honey-do” list when he asks Violet if anything else needs to be done. She’s tells him that he’s completed all of the tasks and should sit on the couch, watch television, grab a beer and wait for her to get home from work so they can do the things couples do. It is clear that this will be difficult for him, based on the look on his face, but it’s his only option.



2. To be a boss, you must have a vision, and you need to know your business inside and out.

Charley and Remy are at the sugar mill with the black farmers collective, and Charley is offering an update on construction plans, equipment and expectations for performance. During the conversation, it’s clear that she has done her research as she’s speaking the farmer’s language with the technical terms she uses along with her descriptions of what’s going to happen. Her presentation was impressive, and a farmer or two even signed contracts to commit to using the Queen Sugar mill for harvest.



3. Don’t forget to see the beauty beyond the world’s brokenness. In the fight for racial justice, dignity, equality, and truth, always make room to acknowledge the good that exists. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the negative, so make sure you allow yourself to see the positive.

Nova has a new editor at the newspaper, and he wants her to find more positive stories so viewers don’t go elsewhere for good news. She tells him that she does some of the most in depth social and criminal justice reporting in the area, and he says that she does great work, but he wants her to “cast her net a little wider” and help them balance the coverage. She responds by saying that it’s difficult to find the good things because “a lot is broken” in New Orleans. He says that not everything is broken, and he wants her to profile success stories, because they’re currently only writing about “problems, not solutions.” She tries to go in a different direction by interviewing an official from the local District Attorney’s office, but hits a dead end when the interviewee doesn’t trust her motives and halts the interview.



4. Become one with the people you want to lead. Don’t forget who you really are – human.

Charley is looking for a new place for her and Micah to live, preferably one that will remind them of home. After her and Remy’s tour of a luxurious spot, they go to the High Yellow for lunch, where they discuss the property. Remy starts with how living in the home, which is near the Landrys, will impact the farmers’ perception of her, and the implications of “black success” looking or not looking like “white success”. Remy tells her that if she wants to lead the black farmers and gain their trust and respect, then she should live and invest in the neighborhood where the mill is located, especially since her purpose for the mill is to uplift the community.



5. You’re never too old to dream!

Aunt Vi and Hollywood are getting ready for bed when Hollywood says that he enjoyed helping on the farm and that he’s going to look for another job. She tells him that he’s just restless and shouldn’t rush into anything. He adds that he likes working and Vi says that she does too.

Auntie then dropped some gems, saying, “They got us thinking that we supposed to work until we die. Then if we don’t, we the problem. Well that ain’t my American Dream. Is that yours?” Hollywood replies in the negative then tells her that his dream is going to sleep and waking up beside her each day, and nothing else matters.

She says that other things do matter, so he tells her, “What, and you don’t think you’re wasting your time at the High Yellow? I see the look on your face when you’re running around. That ain’t a look of love.” She says it’s the “look of determination” and that she worked her butt off for the promotion. Hollywood says that he always sees her most happy when she’s working in her own kitchen, then asks her what her dream looks like.

Aunt Vi responds, “I guess, it looks like me making people happy with my food, my pies. I guess it’s me, having my own business,” with a puzzled expression. He says, “You saying that like it can’t happen. Look, let me figure out what to do next. But I want you to figure out the same thing. We ain’t too old to get ours, baby. We ain’t.”



Did you watch the fourth episode of “Queen Sugar”? What moments do you remember?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

By Sharee Silerio

Every time I watch “Queen Sugar”, there’s at least one moment, conversation, or interaction that speaks to my heart and soul, and yesterday’s episode was no different.

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From the lighting that illustrates each character’s emotions, the background colors that set the mood; clothing that expresses their state of mind and heart; to the picturesque locations and points of view; my senses are delighted.

Each week, I feel like I am becoming more a part of the family, connecting with their struggles, conflicts and joys, trying to help them discover solutions that will help them, and me.

The Bordelons are real people, more than characters on a screen. They are beautifully complicated, they are rightfully human. In one way or another, I see myself and the people I love, in each one of them.

Wise sayings, heart transformations and love overflowed in the third episode, titled “What Do I Care for Morning”.

Here’s this week’s “Reel Noire” recap, on the messages and truths that stood out in last night’s episode of “Queen Sugar”:

1. Trauma is real. Release your pain. Holding it in prolongs your healing and keeps you bound. We allow trauma and pain to consume us when we don’t speak of it, write about it or find a way to express it, giving it power over us, which can destroy us. Speaking our pain releases its hold on our hearts, souls and minds, and offers an opportunity for us to make good of it.

Micah is still processing his run-in with the police, and refuses to talk to anyone about it. He isn’t eating, is sleeping through the day and keeps to himself. Micah is depressed. Nova tries to get him to open up about his experience during breakfast, telling him that she wants him to be free. Hopefully he will choose to be free soon, before the reality of it all becomes too much to bear.



2. Be who you are, and speak your truth, regardless of where you are, and who you are around or with. Being true to yourself is where your power lives.

Nova is invited to speak at a symposium in Atlanta, and meets Robert Dubois, a fellow panel member. As they discuss their passions and inspiration for participating, Dubois realizes that Nova believes in the work she does and will stay true to herself no matter what. In response, she speaks wise words from her mother, which ring true to who she is and has been since the first season. I just LOVE Nova!



3. Instead of judging or reacting to what people do, put yourself in their shoes. There is a reason people do what they do. Instead of seeking revenge, pursue compassion. Help find a solution to the root problem.

As Ralph Angel and Blue are sleeping, Ralph Angel hears noise outside, and picks up his rifle to investigate. What he finds is a truck with masked men stealing sugar cane. As he fires the gun into the air, the truck pulls off, but one man is left behind. He is shocked to find out that it is Henry Lee (Terence Rosemore), a member of the black farmer collective. In a sit down with Charley, Prosper and Ralph Angel, Henry reveals that he needed financial assistance and had no choice but to seek relief from Landry, who instructed him to steal Remy’s sugar cane variety and infiltrate the group in exchange for help. Charley, of course, wants to put the Landry’s antics on public display, and threatens to call the police to get the process started. However, Ralph Angel wants to give him a second chance. As he points out, being desperate can “make a man do bad things”. He added that he knows what it feels like to “need help but can’t think of where to get it from”.
This is systemic in the farmers’ case, as the Landry’s have their businesses and growth potential on lock (discrimination), which causes their economic hardship, so that their only recourse to survive is the Landry’s (welfare), then the Landry’s use them to do their dirty work as a form of repayment, creating a cycle of bondage.
This mirrors our society, as communities with limited resources are often left to fend for themselves, seeking to meet their needs through nontraditional or illegal means. Often, the consequence is incarceration, which further disenfranchises them, leaving them in a less fortunate position than they were before. Hopelessness causes us to not only betray ourselves, but our own communities as well.


4. Love requires commitment. Love chooses love.

Aunt Vi and Hollywood are back on good terms, and spend a few days alone in a nice spot away from home with good food, hot tub fun and romance. During a nice candlelit dinner, Hollywood tells Aunt Vi that instead of answering the call to go back to the rig in a couple of days, he’s going to stay in St. Josephine’s with her, to rebuild their relationship, because she matters most.



5. Love requires sacrifice. Love often requires us to do what we don’t want or like to do for the sake of the ones we love.

As Hollywood and Aunt Vi return to her home, Micah, Charley and Ralph Angel surprise them with laughter, dancing and a celebration of their love. After dinner, Charley is washing the dishes and Aunt Vi tells her that she doesn’t have to do it. Charley says that she has it, then Aunt Vi says, “Everybody knows that you hate to clean, been that way since you were a girl.” Charley responds, “Yes, but even I know that taking care of the things and the people that you love is what makes a house a home.” Later on, Charley demonstrates this when she takes Micah to Davis’ home, per his request for joint custody. She didn’t want to, but she knew that it was best for Micah.



What were some of the lessons you got from last episode 3 of “Queen Sugar”? If you tuned in, what are some of your favorite moments?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Written by Sharee Silerio

Summer has officially started, which means that the new season of “Queen Sugar” has arrived!

Along with the return of the Bordelon family comes a new column on Curly Nikki called “Reel Noire”, written by me! Every week, I will write a recap or review of black television shows and films, highlighting their life lessons, artistry and poignant moments.

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In the first “Queen Sugar” recap, I’ll talk about seven life lessons I learned from the first two episodes, including GIFs, if necessary, lol.

Before the second season premiere, many wondered whether the show’s ratings would hold steady, while some predicted that they would decline.

Well, they obviously forgot about word of mouth, the power of imagery and the beauty in the show’s storytelling, because the ratings didn’t decrease, but were better! According to Shadow and Act, the June 21st premiere was the show’s highest-rated episode in the series’ history among its core female demographic!

So far, everything about the colors, background, lighting, framing, costumes, discussions, dialogue, and emotion in season two takes the series to another level. From race and culture to letting go of the past, relationships and love, Queen Sugar is off to an amazing start. Not only did it speak to my five senses and stir my soul, but I picked up a few lessons along the way.

Here’s what I learned about life from this week’s premiere of “Queen Sugar”:

*The first four lessons are from the first episode and the last three are from the second episode.

1. Forgive as many times as you want to be forgiven. Forgiveness frees us to attract and create the life we want to live.

In the debut season, RalphAngel asked Aunt Vi for custody of Blue, and she initially refused, but changed her mind when he shared that not giving him a second chance is like continuously “doing time”. In the first episode of season two, we see Aunt Vi working at the High Yellow, telling Prosper that she hired some women from the local halfway house to work for her, and that Ralph Angel is responsible. It seems that she has a new outlook on forgiveness, and realizes that if she would have given Hollywood a second chance, then he might still be there with her.



2. Express what you need. You can’t love others if you don’t love (and take care of) yourself first.

Darla has an intimate moment with RalphAngel, where he asks her to spend the night. She tells him that she needs them to slow down and can’t play house anymore because it’s what she needs to maintain her sobriety. She also says that they both need to be able to stand on their own before they can be together.

3. Never forget who and what matters. Sometimes being petty hurts.

In a scene that eerily and sadly resembles real life, Micah is driving his new birthday present, a sports car, when he’s pulled over by a police officer. He doesn’t have his ID and reaches over to get the registration at the officer’s command, when he draws a gun. Fast forward, and Charley, Nova and Davis arrive at the police station to get him. As they leave and are on the parking lot, Nova wraps her sweater around Micah’s waist after noticing that he urinated on himself. The entire time, Charley and Davis argue about whose fault it was that Micah was arrested, while he looks on, alone and traumatized. Nova’s experience with fighting against racial injustice and for youth kicks in, firing up her instincts to protect her nephew. Micah’s relationship with his parents probably won’t be the same as they basically abandoned him, especially emotionally, during his time of need.



4. We are ALL walking contradictions. Allow what’s on the inside to be present on the outside. It’s the only way to be true to oneself.

Nova is having a conversation with a group of women at a baby shower about family, relationships, children, careers and the “order” to do these things in. While she denounces the “old”, “outdated” way of life – namely getting married then having children – part of her secretly wants these things with her ex-man Calvin. And since he’s already married with kids, this isn’t going to happen. After their breakup, she’s been consoling her heartache by filling her bed with a new man seemingly every night. Although she is happy and lively with her family and friends, it is in the aftermath of her encounters with these men that we see how she truly feels. As she casually but sternly dismisses the men, her eyes reveal emptiness, sadness and loneliness. She’s definitely hiding the true condition of her heart.



5. Allow yourself to grieve. So often, we use our emotions to protect us from pain instead of feeling and resolving them. We must work through the expectations that didn’t become reality, loss and hurtful experiences in order to be whole.

Before divorce was in the picture, Charley had unofficially moved on with Remy. This causes tension in their relationship, as she is still connected to Davis emotionally, financially and legally. When she and Remy go to the bank to get a loan for the sugar mill, she’s told that the deal will only be approved if they have Davis’ signature. Remy tells Charley that their relationship is going to be professional for now on, and later he adds that she needs to grieve the loss of her marriage before they can move on.

6. Life can change in a second. Life is short, and we never know what is going to happen, who we’re going to lose, when or how. Dwelling on the past isn’t valuable to anyone.

When Charley shows up to Remy’s house after learning during what was supposed to be her and Davis’ final divorce mediation session, that Davis wants joint custody of Micah, they discuss the passing of Remy’s wife. In a startling parallel, Remy tells Charley the story of how his wife died in Afghanistan as a member of the Army Reserves, while Aunt Vi is anxiously waiting at the rig to see if Hollywood survived a fatal explosion. One by one, Aunt Vi watches man after man leave the bus, hoping to see the love of her life.





7. Trust in yourself and find your own way. When others don’t believe in you, believe in yourself and do what you have to do to make what you want to happen a reality. Don’t let anyone stop you, not even you.

RalphAngel is stepping up as far as the farm goes, but one person is having a hard time letting go. Following in her controlling, my way or the highway, know-it-all, this is what I do, I have two degrees ways, Charley continues to believe that she is the only one who knows what she’s doing, including what’s best for the Bordelon’s farm business. RalphAngel decides to plant soybean in what he calls “Blue’s Corner” to generate income, but he needs money from the bank to purchase the seeds. The bank tells him that he needs Charley’s signature to withdraw from the account, and once again he is blocked by his sister’s need to control. Remy encourages him to change his perception of himself – to see himself as a farmer, be positive and do something about it by applying for financing.



What do you think about these sweet life lessons from the two-episode premiere of “Queen Sugar”? Did you watch it? What are some of your favorite moments?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

By Sharee Silerio

Fans yearning to satisfy their #GimmeSugar cravings don’t have too much longer to wait because season two of Queen Sugar is near!

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Last season, millions of viewers tuned in to the riveting debut show, making it the #1 new cable series for African-American women.

The critically-acclaimed drama from Academy award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey will return with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 21 at 10/9c on OWN.

Continuing the groundbreaking initiative established in the show's first season, series creator DuVernay has once again assembled an all-female directing team for season two including: Kat Candler, DeMane Davis, Cheryl Dunye, Aurora Guerrero and Amanda Marsalis, with additional names to be announced.

Viewers fell in love with the television masterpiece – a genuine, unique and aware depiction of black humanity.

After 13 fascinating episodes, which earned an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series and Television Show of the Year Awards from both ABFF and AAFCA, fans are ready to be taken further into the Bordelon’s minds, hearts and world.

If you haven’t watched the show yet, don’t fret! You can catch the first season on Hulu now. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be counting down the days until the summer!

A fresh teaser for the second season shows that the Bordelon family will have even more soul-searching, fear-confronting and decision-making to do.

In light of marriage troubles, new beginnings and interracial relationship struggles, what will Charley, Ralph Angel and Nova do? How will their lives and the lives of the people they love be affected?

They are all at turning points in their lives and it will be interesting to witness what destinies they choose.

Season two looks like it’s going to be amazing, so Wednesdays will be “don’t call, text or bother me” nights – unless it’s about Queen Sugar.


What are thoughts on Queen Sugar so far? Do you plan on watching Season 2?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.