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DuVernay teams up w/Harpo Films for First-Look Deal + 'Queen Sugar' gets renewed

Ava DuVernay at ESSENCE Festival

Congrats to award-winning director and filmmaker Ava DuVernay! She is expanding her TV and film empire through a new first-look deal with Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Films. The partnership was announced earlier this week and will include new grounds for her in television and digital media.


According to the press release, the first collaboration is DuVernay’s recently announced limited drama series “Central Park Five” for Netflix from Participant Media, Tribeca Productions and Harpo Films.  In addition to the partnership, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is renewing the original drama series “Queen Sugar” for a third season. The Wednesday night program is currently averaging 2.4 million viewers and is consistently one of the most talked-about shows on social media.


“I’m so proud of Ava and her ability as a filmmaker to challenge the status quo and push for inclusiveness on screen and behind the camera. I love, love, love the work we have been able to create so far. I am looking forward to developing many more meaningful projects together,” said Winfrey, CEO, OWN and Harpo Films.


“Queen Sugar” fans will also see a few new faces later on this season including Michael Michele and Roger Guenveur Smith, who will portray Darla’s (Bianca Lawson) estranged parents. Veteran actress Beverly Todd will also star as Mother Olivia Brown, a much beloved and respected matriarchal activist residing in the 9th Ward.


Also joining the “Queen Sugar” team as directors are Garrett Bradley, Liesl Tommy, Christina Voros and ATL’s own Julie Dash.


Ray Cornelius is one of Atlanta’s newest entertainment writers and media personalities. His arts and entertainment website, www.raycornelius.com spotlights the latest in “positive” African-American celebrity news and was established in 2012. Since that time Cornelius has covered a myriad of red carpet premieres, award shows and Atlanta-based films including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, The BronzeLens Film Festival, The Trumpet Awards, and The Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards just to name a few. He has also interviewed a who’s who list of today’s top singers, actors and reality stars. With nearly 20 years of media experience, Cornelius has also worked as an associate producer for the Emmy-winning public affairs program, ATL Insider and with such award shows as The Soul Train Awards, The Trumpet Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards.