Ashley Rey
September 21, 2016 11:14 am
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Everyone is obsessed with Ava DuVernay’s latest television show, Queen Sugar. Not only do the story lines have the perfect combination of reality and drama, fans have also placed their attention on what’s going on behind the scenes.


It’s no secret that Ava took her time with developing the groundbreaking series, and was super particular about the level of inclusion surrounding the cast and crew. One of the most dynamic aspects of the OWN network’s production are the women chosen to work behind the camera.

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According to The Washington Post, Ava shared with press ahead of the show’s premiere that her main goal was to hire “dope directors.” And after watching the first few episodes intently, we think she accomplished this!

Curious about who exactly these talented ladies behind the camera are? No worries! We did a little research and pulled some interesting facts about each director for you.

Ava DuVernay

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Why you need to know her: Ava serves as the creator and executive producer of Queen Sugar, and has directed two episodes in the first season. Ava was the first African-American woman to win the Best Director prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her film Middle of Nowhere. However, she is perhaps best known for her film Selma. With Selma, Ava became the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and to have her film be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Neema Barnette

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Why you need to know her: Neema is a seasoned director, who has worked on tv classics like The Cosby Show7th Heaven, and A Different World. She was also the first African-American woman to direct a sitcom. Neema directed two episodes of Queen Sugar’s first season.

Kat Candler

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Why you need to know her: A writer and director, Kat is best known for her work on the 2014 indie drama-thriller, Hellion starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. She also has an epic short film career, having made projects for major producers like Ron Howard. Kat has directed two episodes on Queen Sugar.

Tina Mabry

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Why you need to know her: Tina is a producer, writer and director, and has both producer and directing credits for Queen Sugar. Tina’s debut feature film Mississippi Damned won top prizes at the Chicago International Film, Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, and the American Black Film Festival. Tina is also directing two episodes of the upcoming television series, Dear White People, set to air in 2017.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield

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Why you need to know her: Salli is an actress, director and producer, and has directed two episodes on the series. Prior to Queen Sugar, Salli directed episodes on the 2011 TV series, Eureka, and has acted in a slew of projects – including, I Am Legend, opposite Will Smith, and television series Rosewood and Being Mary Jane.

Tanya Hamilton

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Why you need to know her: Tanya is a director and writer, and is most known for her work on the indie film Night Catches Us which opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it received wide critical acclaim. Tanya directed one episode for Queen Sugar.

So Yong Kim

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Why you need to know her: So Yong is an editor, director, and writer and has directed one episode for Queen Sugar’s first season. She served as director and writer for the 2016 drama, Livesong, starring Jena Malone and Brooklyn Decker. Her latest film Lovesong recently made its L.A. debut at the Sundance Next Festival.

Victoria Mahoney

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Why you need to know her: Victoria is an actress, writer, and director and directed one episode of Queen Sugar’s first season. She has acted in Legally Blond, Seinfeld and Boy Meets Girl, and has directed episodes of TV series Grey’s Anatomy and Survivor’s Remorse, and the TV movie Bleach.