Queen Sugar Round Table: Is Davis Assumed Guilty Because He's Black?

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Last week on Queen Sugar Season 1 Episode 4, Ralph Angel got in over his head while trying to get the farm up and running, Nova published a huge story about corruption in the justice system, while Charley went back to L.A. to deal with the fallout over Davis’ actions. 

Our TV Fanatics Lee, Jenn, Jasmine, and Christine O. are here to debate why the hooker didn’t take the payoff, if Davis is assumed guilty because of race, if the farm can really be saved, and much more after “The Darker Sooner.”

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Why do you think Melina aka “Goldie” didn’t take the $500,000 pay off?

Lee: I hope it’s because she wants real justice for what happened to her. By not taking the money, it looks like she’s going to put herself and her credibility on the line in order to make sure that these men don’t take advantage of another woman in the same way again. One can’t help but think that the allegations must be true, or she would have taken the payoff instead of risking a big trial where she could lose everything.

Jenn: I completely agree with Lee. By her not taking the pay off could mean that she is in fact telling the truth. Five hundred thousand dollars would, I'm sure, change her life (shoot it would change my life lol) so the fact that she doesn't want it is unusual.

Now another angle could be she wants to be famous and a trial would put her in the limelight. If she took the money I'm sure she wouldn't be able to ever speak of it again. But my money (no pun intended) is on this allegation actually being true.

Jasmine: I agree with the others. Her credibility is already sketchy because of her occupation, my hope is that she's declining because she really was raped and she wants justice. The possibility of her declining because she wants to drag it out and stay in the public eye is real too. Unfortunately.

Christine: Is she holding out for more money? Could she have some other ulterior motive? Both of those are possible, or she really was raped and she wants justice. I can’t wait to find out which it is. 

Is saving the farm realistic given everything else going on in their lives?

Lee: Because of the lateness in the season, I’m not sure it’s feasible to have a decent crop at this point. However, I think their odds for success go up significantly if Charley comes back to Louisiana and devotes the business smarts and negotiating skills that she showcased in this episode when she was in full-fledged crisis control mode for Davis. She’s clearly got a brilliant mind for business ventures and the family farm deserves to benefit from that mind more than Davis does.

Jenn: I think the only chance they have is if everyone comes back to help. Charley has a lot going on and I think everyone understands. Not only with her hopefully soon to be ex-husband, but also her son. Micah needs Charley, so I don't see how she can devote herself 100% to the farm. Nova can help out more, at least until Ralph Angel gets the hang of it. But I also don't think it’s a bad idea for Charley and Micah to move down south to help. The both could use the change, as well.

Jasmine: Clearly they're building this up to Charley coming back to help. I was incredibly frustrated with both the Bordelon sisters because they threw Ralph Angel in the deep end and kept criticizing him for drowning. It's damn near impossible to get everything going, but they'd stand a chance if they all put in the work and play to their strengths. Charley's business acumen, Nova's networking skills, and Ralph Lauren's physical strength. It takes all of them. He can't do it alone.

Christine: Ugh. It really does seem as though Ralph Angel has been set up to fail. In his sisters’ defense, he did claim to be able to run the farm. In his enthusiasm, I think he oversold his knowledge but I do hope this family can band together to make this happen. 

Did Stella cheat on Micah or is something else going on there?

Lee: I don’t even know what to think! This scene was crazy and I felt so, so bad for Micah. First his father’s scandal, and now this? Either Stella cheated while he was out of town or her mother, who clearly dislikes Micah, did something crooked in order to get him out of the school and away from her daughter. I’m not sure which is more likely. This really opens the door for Charley and Micah to move to Louisiana, where she can enroll him in another school and give him the chance to start over.

Jenn: I think her mom had everything to do with that picture. Micah has no reason to lie to Charley about it. He was already expelled and didn't want to fight about it. Stella looked to have the same puppy dog love eyes as Micah, so I don't think she cheated. I think her mom didn't want him around, from her clear eye rolling, so she had to not only break them up but remove him completely. This is the exact thing Charley explained to Micah could happen to him in the car before school.

Jasmine: I got the impression Stella's mom had been dying for a reason to get Micah out of her daughter's life, and this scandal gave her the perfect opportunity. I have no doubts she's behind it. Dirty picture and all. Which is repugnant. And illegal if anyone finds out the truth.

Christine: Yeah, mom definitely comes across as shady on this one. It’s hard to know what the heck happened. Was Stella keeping quiet because she’s guilty of cheating, because she’s embarrassed that someone sent her that pic, or because her mom is in charge?

Do you think the media is demonizing Davis because he’s a black man or because of his actions?

Lee: I think that him being black is definitely a factor. When you look at how people react to the news that a celebrity has been accused of sexual assault, rape, battery or any other crime against a woman, black men are demonized for it far more than white men.

Compare people’s responses to the photos of a battered Amber Heard after she accused Johnny Depp of abuse to the way people responded to Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna, or Hollywood’s unwavering support of Woody Allen versus the uproar over Nate Parker.

For some reason, a lot of people seem more likely to immediately believe that black men are guilty of these crimes, whereas when a white man is accused, he is innocent until proven guilty. That being said, if Davis is guilty he obviously deserves to be punished for it.

Jenn: Yes, the media is demonizing Davis because he is black, but not only them, the basketball team and Stella's mom.  This kind of reminds me of Kobe Bryant, when he went through his case. Everyone hated him, but when Ben Roethlisberger was in trouble, everyone was on his side. Unfortunately the media decides who's guilty and not guilty before things even go to trial.

Jasmine: Both. There is an appalling inconsistency when it comes to caring about sex crimes. We've seen that recently with Brock Turner. But yeah, Davis' race is a factor. Davis is the fall guy. Suddenly it doesn't matter if his other teammates played a role if they can all join forces and turn on him.

There's a double standard that we see time and time again. Not everyone gets the benefit of the doubt, innocent-until-proven-guilty treatment. I rather enjoyed that Nova's storyline was overtly pointing this out with the prison pipeline article at the same time. When it comes to racial bias, it's so much quieter and more subtle than society would love to believe, which leads to many people naively asserting it's a non-factor even when it is.

Christine: It’s twofold. If the media likes anything more than building up a celebrity, it’s getting to knock them back down. But it’s hard to ignore the double standard in our society when it comes to sexual assault cases. If you’re a white man, then innocent until proven guilty seems to apply in a big way. If you’re not white, that assumption seems to swing in the opposite direction. 

Was there anything in this episode that disappointed you?

Lee: I was disappointed that Ralph Angel’s new buddy at work screwed him over by having his cousin sell him bad cane seed, though I wasn’t really surprised. It’s possible that he didn't know his cousin’s cane was bad, but considering what he said about his cousin’s financial difficulties, I doubt it. I just hope Ralph Angel doesn’t do anything to jeopardize his job at the warehouse as a result.

Jenn: Yeah, I agree. I was disappointed by Ralph Angel's co-worker, but I can't say I didn't see it coming. I thought he was going to rob him when he took his shift. I guess in a way he still did. Other than that, the show is just so good, nothing else disappointed me.

Jasmine: Again, I was disappointed in the sisters and how they were treating Ralph Angel. They left him hanging out to dry, and they're treating him like he has all of this farming knowledge and skill when he doesn't. I feel like him getting screwed over on the cane wouldn't have happened if they banded together more.

Let's put it this way, Charley would have negotiated and talked her way into getting cane. Nova could have tapped into her resources and contacts. Those two women find ways to get what they want when motivated.

Christine: That Charley was still working to save Davis. Although, I understand that his business is essentially her business, but Davis lied to her and cheated on her. I’d love to see her walk away and leave him to fend for himself. 

Charley Gets Tested - Queen Sugar Season 1 Episode 4

What was your favorite quote or scene from “The Darker Sooner”?

Lee: For me, it’s a tie between two scenes starring Nova, who is definitely my favorite character. I loved it when she launched into the list of young black men who had been unjustly locked up after her editor told her he needed more examples in order to publish her story.

But then, I also loved it when Ralph Angel confronted her for caring more about these young men than she seemingly did about him when he was in jail. Rutina Wesley did some phenomenal acting in both scenes, going from being a righteous warrior for justice, to a sister wracked with guilt when Ralph Angel wanted to know why she had barely visited him when he was locked up.

Jenn: I liked when Ralph Angel stood up to Nova. She, of course, is helping so many people but you have a case right in your own home. Ralph Angel needs that same kind of love too. I also liked the scene between Charley and Remy. Clearly things are going to steam up between them. Another reason why Charley should move.

Jasmine: I'll stray from the others. I liked the scene with Nova and Ralph Angel making up while setting the table. As a music nerd, I'm in love with the musical score on this show. Courtesy of Meshell Ndegeocello. Them making up, then joking around with Frankie Beverly playing in the background just gave that scene a warm and homey vibe. I could just imagine all the nice family dinners the Bordelons had together growing up.

Christine: I really appreciated that they had Charley go to her doctor to get tested. That’s so vitally important and the risk of sexually transmitted disease is too often overlooked on TV. If Davis slept with a prostitute, or anyone else, and then had unprotected sex with his wife, he’s put her at risk. No matter what the test results, I hope we get to see some follow-up on this. 

Want more sugar? Check back on Wednesday night for our review of Queen Sugar Season 1 Episode 5 and if you want more, you can watch Queen Sugar online here at TV Fanatic. 

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Queen Sugar Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

I'll do my job as your manager, but don't expect me to play the dutiful wife holding your hand.

Charley

There's always some kid, some story, some hood crisis. You know what's messed up? You care more about those brothers locked up than your own brother. You came to visit me, what, twice while I was inside? How many times you seen this kid?

Ralph Angel