Paula Jai Parker (The Wayans Bros.), Marquis Rodriguez (When They See Us) and McKinley Freeman (Titans) have joined the OWN series as recurring, while Lisa France, Bertha Bay-Sa Pan, Carmen Marrón, Cierra Glaude, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, Marie Jamora, Shari L. Carpenter, Shaz Bennett and Stephanie Turner will all have their turn as helmers for Season 6, which is set to premiere later in the fall. The addition of the nine directors continues DuVernay’s commitment to hiring an entirely woman-led directing team for the show. The latest addition brings the series’ total women director count to 42 filmmakers, 39 of whom are first-time television directors.
Set in rural Louisiana and the fictional community of St. Josephine, the Anthony Sparks-showrun Queen Sugar focuses on the trio of Bordelon siblings, played by Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Rutina Wesley and Kofi Siriboe, and their extended family.
The drama will see Townsend in the series regular role as Billie, the daughter of beloved Bordelon family friend Prosper Denton (Henry G. Sanders), who returns to St. Josephine for the first time in 20 years to care for her ailing father.
Parker will play the recurring role of Celine, a single mother whom Aunt Violet takes under her wing as Celine works to establish a life in St. Josephine with her 10-year-old son.
Also joining as recurring characters are Marquis Rodriguez and McKinley Freeman. Rodriguez will play Isaiah, a college student wise beyond his years who befriends Micah West. Freeman takes on Dominic, a cultural anthropologist who captures the attention of Nova Bordelon (Wesley).
Queen Sugar, created by DuVernay, airs Tuesday nights on OWN. The drama is produced for OWN by ARRAY Filmworks and Harpo Films in association with Warner Bros. Television. The season five executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Paul Garnes and Anthony Sparks. The series is based on the book by Natalie Baszile.