Aunt Violet’s (Tina Lifford) condition worsens as she dismisses her hair falling out, something Dash says she and Lifford used to their advantage by exposing Vi’s vulnerability. “Tina Lifford allowed herself to be exposed to allow me to do that. She let me get all up in her hair, even down to her roots,” she reveals. “We were crammed in a tiny bathroom and everything was exposed. It was almost like doing a nude scene to have all of those people surrounding you, with your wig off. It was incredibly brave of her. She said she wanted to be eating a bag of popcorn while the woman was doing her hair and I was worried about the sound. She used that popcorn and her sweet tea and played off of it.”
Meanwhile, Nova’s (Rutina Wesley) story on the Zika virus causes an uproar in the community and she begins to question her own journalistic integrity; Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe) finally begins to come to terms with his emotions over being assaulted; and Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) gets an unexpected visit from her mother, Lorna (Sharon Lawrence). Despite so much going on, emotional bonding was at the center of the premiere, Dash says. “A lot of this episode was about intimacy. Having the veil pulled back.”
For Dash, the entire series is full of life lessons, which also make it important to continue telling African-American women’s stories onscreen. “It’s important because it’s also a healing moment, a truth-telling healing moment. We all need and go through it,” she says. “Yeah, it’s painful, but it has to be done. In many ways these episodes of Queen Sugar can also be said to be instructional in a way to help you get through it,” she says.