OWN Takes over Essence Fest with Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar cast


(NEW ORLEANS) – OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network along with Warner Horizon TV and award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay hosted an intimate screening of the much-anticipated original drama series “Queen Sugar” for a select crowd of VIPs during the 2016 Essence Festival. Cast members Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield and Nicholas Ashe were on hand to greet friends and family and participate in post-screening Q&A.

Attendees included Common (recording artist), Janelle Monae (actress, recording artist), Omari Hardwick (“Power”), Lynn Whitfield (“Greenleaf”), Michelle Williams (recording artist), Lisa Price (founder, Carol’s Daughter), Ariel Foxman (editor-in-chief, In Style), Linda Spradley Dunn (Odyssey Media), Michaela Angela Davis (BET), Tai Beauchamp (style expert, tv personality), Demetria Lucas(author/editor), Amber Payne (NBC BLK) and more.

The Oprah Winfrey Network continued its “Queen Sugar” Essence Festival takeover with a Q&A on the festival mainstage — moderated by Essence entertainment director Cori Murray — featuring the cast and show creator Ava DuVernay; an inspiring keynote speech by “Queen Sugar” executive producer Oprah Winfrey; and a culminating cocktail reception at Legacy Kitchen, where over 200 industry insiders and tv personalities celebrated the new series.

Queen Sugar” cast members Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield, Nicholas Ashe and Bianca Lawson graced the red carpet at the reception, followed by DuVernay, Gayle King and Ms. Winfrey herself. Additional attendees included: Lynn Whitfield (“Greenleaf”), Tina Knowles Lawson, Richard Lawson, “The Real” hosts Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai; singer Lalah Hathaway; “Love Thy Neighbor” cast Patrice Lovely and Darmirra Brunson; “Survivor’s Remorse” cast Tichina Arnold, Jessie T. Usher,  Erica Ash andAllen Maldonado; “POWER” cast Lela Loren and Joseph Sikora; “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker; broadcast journalist/producer Soledad O’Brien, Bozoma Saint John(Head of Global Consumer Marketing, Apple Music & iTunes); Mona Scott-Young (Monami Entertainment); Stevie J (“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”); “Married to Medicine” cast Dr. Heavenly, Mariah Huq andLisa Nicole Cloud; Gocha Hawkins (“LA Hair”), Tameka Foster, American Idol’s La’Porsha Renae and so many more.

“Queen Sugar” will debut as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10PM ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

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