Warning: Spoilers ahead!
This week's episode of Queen Sugar, properly titled "Heritage," revealed one of the series' biggest plot twists when Darla (Bianca Lawson) finally shared a huge secret with Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe)...
Creator Ava DuVernay talked to BuzzFeed News exclusively about blowing up the show's most beloved relationship, a decision she made three years ago before Queen Sugar even started airing.
"When I was casting Kofi and Ethan, I thought to myself, There's a melanin thing going on with the two of them," said DuVernay. "They were both the best actors for their respective roles, so I said to myself, I wonder if we can make a storyline where the love is so blinding that no one notices or asks the question of if Darla – a very fair-skinned women – and Kofi – a very brown-skinned man – can produce a son that's Ethan's color? Where we could build the idea that the love between them is so strong that it blinds you to the genetic realities and possibilities, but that when you hear that he's not his son biologically you say, 'Oooh, right.'"
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But DuVernay explained that the plot twist is bigger than just wanting to shock fans. "We're not doing stuff to just be doing stuff and be dramatic to make Twitter blow up," she said. "This show comes from my heart."
"Every single thing we do on Queen Sugar is intentional. What I'm interested in is making us, as a black family nationally, talk about issues we deal with," DuVernay continued. "This ain't new. After the episode ended, men and women were talking about having been Ralph Angel or Darla or even Blue in this situation. I was raised by a father who's not my blood, but he's my father to the bone. I'd take a bullet for him. There's no difference between what my heart feels, regardless of what the biological situation is," she said firmly.
So to fans who are asking, "Why, Ava?!" the short answer is this: "The why is it's real and that's what we do on Queen Sugar. We explore what's real for black people within our families."
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Even though DuVernay stands behind her decision to bring Blue's paternity into question in order to explore this common scenario in the black community, fans should know her heart also broke watching it all go down.
"I wrote the scene, I edited the scene, I thought about the scene for three years, and it still made me cry," said DuVernay.
She credited Lawson's and Siriboe's performances this season for truly taking her vision to the next level and for making the moment as harrowing as it was. "If there was any justice for black performers at award shows, Bianca Lawson as Darla this season and Kofi Siriboe as Ralph Angel will be included in those conversations," she said. "I work with a lot of actors. The work that they've done this season on this young black couple's relationship — the joy, the pain, the tears, the love, the loves, the child — ah, it slays me."