We Will Not Settle For Center Adjacent: On Queen Sugar and Black Girls Pushing Through
I don’t know how many gaht damn times we got to tell folks. We ain’t settling for center adjacent. Beyonce reminded y’all when she literally took center stage and shut Coachella down with the Blackest performance they ever did see. When my knee get right, I’m learning that choreo and its over for all y’all! I digress. Teyana Taylor told y’all weekly as she unapologetically loved and allows herself to be loved by her man on their show (to be clear, hetero relationships ain’t the only ones that count up in here but sis got that man wearing matching clothes on every episode. Where is the class for that Teyana?). Cardi showed y’all when she dropped Invasion of Privacy, prenatally twerked on the Coachella stage and then dropped three videos costarring her pregnant belly. Janelle Monae proved it once again when she created Dirty Computer, the album and emotion picture. And that’s just Black women in music. We showing out everywhere. Music, film, literature, the corner store, the academy, the pulpit and politics. We ain’t sitting in the margins. You will make space for us. You will move. Or be moved. Dora Milaje. And to that end, Queen Sugar came back this week. With an all woman cast of directors, Queen Sugar is what happens when women are allowed to tell our stories. It is what happens when the creativity of one Black woman (Ava) meets the access of another Black woman (Oprah). Per usual, Queen Sugar preached, explored and convicted us. Whole time allowing us to gaze upon the beauty of Ralph Angel and Nova, so at times we didn’t feel so exposed wrapped in all that fineness. I watched both episodes and took notes when the spirit moved me so I’mma give it to you like it came to me.
Also, spoilers. So if you read beyond this point, that’s on you.
Soon as the first episode kicked off, Nova was faced with the same decision she had to make with when that Save the Last Dance looking dude tried to get her to go “big time.” Nova is a community activist and dude wanted her to think about a national spotlight. He also wanted her to wear pearls. So there’s that. No wonder she didn’t trust his judgment. Half the time he acted like he ain’t never me her. Nova wasn’t having it because she believed her work was with the local community. Fast forward to this season and she sees just how little control she has at the paper she works for. She was also offered a six-figure book deal and that will help you see some things a little faster. Still, Nova wasn’t bout to jump for the money so she took some time to think about it. Different from last time because wasn’t even no thinking about it when homeboy tried to make her “bigger.”
But there is certainly something about knowing your role. Somebody made reference to Nova being the next Coates or Gay and the reality is that everybody shouldn’t be/don’t want to be/ can’t be the next Coates or Gay. Know where you fit. Where your passion lies. Where your skills are best utilized. And don’t let nobody tell you that aiming for a national spotlight is a universal goal. That’s a lie they sold us. Like marriage as a universal goal.
Also, editors can’t bury your stories or edit your titles when you own your own domain. I’m just saying. *insert painting nails emoji here*
Charlie stay dancing with the devil. I liked her way more in the book. The TV Charlie works my everlasting nerves. I’m never sure exactly who or what Charlie is fighting for. Probably because she ain’t sure neither. This whole thing with her master plan to take down the Landrys seems like it will backfire in a major way. Charlie like a broken clock, twice a day she say something I can get with and then she go and act like Charlie again and I’m over her. As Nova pondered her options, Charlie told her “not to lead with the fear of what might be, lead with the strength of who you are.”
Whole town at the high school basketball game. Sometimes I forget how small the town is, I like that scenes like this remind me. And they played the same track Bey played at her Coachella set! Soon as this knee get right! I need to find and download that track. I digress again. Deal. #overforyall
And then Queen Sugar and OWN did what ABC was scared to do. They covered kneeling during the anthem. And young people working to make change. I will say this, while I’m glad they covering kneeling, I did not and do not need the explicit police brutality stuff. I didn’t need to see another cop beating a Black man. This (the police brutality video) is the only time I’ve ever felt that a Queen Sugar storyline was lazy and gratuitously emotion jerking. Or I might just still be pissed about the trauma porn of Orange is the New Black.
Ralph Angel seems to only have casual sex with dark skinned. He didn’t even take the sister in the house! Where did they have sex? The garage? The barn? I mean do you sis. As long as that’s your choice. But don’t be bussing down in a car simply because he refuses to allow you in his house.
Charlie’s men all pass paper bag tests too. Hmm.
Also Ralph Angel, if the DNA test really didn’t change nothing, why take it? Or why open the results? I would have said take the test, leave the results sealed unless Blue’s health required knowing that info and allow Blue to decide if he wants to know later. Because if you’re gonna raise him anyway…
And then we get to Aunt Vi. Lord I love me some Aunt Vi. If you watched last season, you know Aunt Vi has lupus. You also know that her pie business been building and just as it is taking off, her health is acting up. But when a big order comes through, she decides that ain’t no amount of lupus symptoms gone keep her from her goal. I want you to watch Aunt Vi sis, watch her determination and watch her persistence. But I want you to listen to your bodies. I want us to learn to ask for help. And learn to accept it when it is offered. But here is where Aunt Vi starts the benediction. See, she agreed to a big pie purchase with the understanding that her pies would be centered in the store. Featured. She delivers on her end even though it required her to put her health in jeopardy and humble herself to ask for help from a woman she don’t even like. But when she gets to that store and her pies is sitting on the sidelines…When she arrives and her pies are in the margins…Aunt Vi is not having it. So she moves them. Because we will take the center by force if need be.
Aunt Vi said that maybe her pie placement was a little thing but that it was a big thing to her. Said she would no longer be sidelined, sidetracked or sidestepped. She will not be put into a corner or told to wait another day. Aunt Vi said it’s her time.
It’s our time.
Move. Or be moved.
We ain’t playing.
Ain’t never been playing.
And we ain’t settling for center adjacent.