Queen Sugar Season 4 Episode 1: Pleasure Is Black

End of season 3, Nova Bordelon completed a manuscript called Blessing and Blood. When her longtime friend reads it, she warns Nova it will stir up trouble. The season four premiere fast forwards a few months. Initially, I thought the book would be about the Bordelon family’s journey from slavery to owning sugarcane land. I thought the book would highlight her family’s experience as black sugar cane farmers within segregated St. Josephine stemming back to slavery and how they came to own their land, what it means and the challenges that come with being a black farmer in St. Josephine. I thought the book would discuss the lynchings of Granddaddy Bordelon and other Bordelons. I thought Nova would discuss the aftermath of Ernest, her father’s assault by white men. I thought that would cause trouble because Nova’s siblings were unaware of some  experiences, it would cause Aunt Vi to relive trauma and stir up talk in the town. I thought she would address the racism and elitism within St. Josephine and its effects on the mental and economic well-being of its African-American residents. I was wrong.

Nova’s book is centered on the theme of secrets destroying people and keeping them enslaved. It is her reason for writing the book to free those with secrets. She offers her truth as a sacrifice for freedom. Nova never told her family what the book is about. Though the Bordelons are curious and excited for her, they have no idea the book contains all their family secrets and personal struggles.

Hollywood noticed something was not right about that book. A family friend mentioned the book during Aunt Vi’s pie store opening and Nova’s nervousness gave it away. He pulled Nova aside and said, “If you talkin’ bout at least 25% of the family secrets I know, we need a heads up. We deserve at least that.”

Nova gives Aunt Vi, Charley and Ralph Angel a copy of the manuscript reluctantly. She also has a dream about her childhood, she falls to the ground and sees adult Charley and Ralph Angel standing in front of her. As someone who has had similar dreams like this, especially when I’m avoiding something, it’s her conscience. It’s her guilt and avoidance surfacing into her dreams.

Unfortunately, the contents of the book is revealed during Charley’s acceptance speech after receiving a Women in Business award. A reporter interrupts her speech and addresses Charley about Davis’s rape scandal and paying his recent mistress hush money and whether that’s promoting rape culture.

When Charley gets home, she reads the book, calls Ralph Angel and tells him not to. But by the time Charley’s en route to Ralph Angel’s house, him and Hollywood have read it. She negatively speaks about Blue, Ralph Angel’s son’s birth and conception. She also negatively speaks of Aunt Vi saying she’s not a strong woman.

This is really messed up. Something’s off about Nova. To share her “truth” but practically run out the room sheepishly when leaving the manuscripts does not make sense. When she gave it to Charley, Nova claimed she was nervous about the New York Times book review, how it will be received and if the book will perform well. She was afraid. Terrified. She knew this could hurt her family.

I understand everyone shares their experiences from their point of views. However, Nova did not warn her family sooner nor did she ask to to disclose her relatives’ personal struggles. In addition, the way Nova describes her siblings and aunt is offensive and disrespectful. It sounds like she’s attacking her own family. The people who have always supported her. Aunt Vi who became her surrogate mother after Nova’s mother passed. Ralph Angel who has always been loyal. Charley, oh freakin’ Charley. She has stood by Nova even when she shamed Charley for initially supporting Davis in his rape scandal, paying his mistress hush money, shaming Charley for her wealthy lifestyle and shaming her for doing business with the Landrys. And especially, especially when Nova secretly dated Remi after him and Charley just ended their serious relationship. That’s extremely distasteful.

In interviews, she framed the book as sharing her truth. It’s her family’s truth. Not hers. It’s not how Nova came to be the woman she is today. As a recovering judgmental person, I know I lashed out, confronted friends and family about their truths and came off self-righteous. However, I was terrified to confront my own flaws and incapable of accepting family and friends addressing me about them. When I was addressed my flaws, I lashed out, became extremely defensive and shut down mentally and emotionally. This is Nova.

Historically, since season 1, Nova has always told people about themselves. But when people confronted Nova about her flaws, she lashed out, walked away, stormed off and jumped on a plane to Atlanta without her family knowing. She’s very insecure.

I wonder if she reveals her relationship with Calvin, the fine ass white married cop employed by St. Josephine’s police force. The very force she’s been protesting against. Will Nova admit selling Too Sweet the weed he got arrested for? Will she admit that she was partially responsible for his wrongful imprisonment? Will Nova talk about being spat in the face by one of Calvin’s police friends? Will Nova reveal her secret relationship with Charley’s ex boyfriend? Will she discuss her relationship with DuBois? I doubt it.

What Nova has unearthed is something you can’t come back from. She didn’t consider all the possibilities. This book could tarnish her family members’ reputations, their safety, their businesses and threaten the Bordelon family’s legacy. But when it involves your closest loved ones, it’s only respectful to share with them what you will disclose or ask their permission.

I’m interested to see how everything plays out this season. What do you think? When writing a book, film or series about your family, is it common courtesy to tell your family what you will disclose, ask for permission, or no because it is your perspective?

Comment below. I love conversations about this.


Author: BellaDour

Writer. Screenwriter. Poet. I write about personal development, self-care and adulting

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