Tired of Subpar TV? OWN’s Line Up is #BlackExcellence


By Brenda Alexander

When OWN debuted, I was disappointed. Between the reruns of Dr. Phil and 20/20, I couldn’t figure out what the hell Auntie O was doing. Fast-forward to today and she's developed some of the greatest quality shows and content television has ever seen.

OWN’s seasonal campaign is “See Yourself” and that’s exactly what I’m able to do with her current programming. There’s a little something for everyone. For those who have grown tired of Bravo, WeTV and all things Viacom, look no further than OWN to satisfy your needs of multi-faceted stories that depict us in all forms. Here’s a look into what you’ll find in its current rotation.

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Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley & Dawn-Lyen Gardner
Queen Sugar
Ava DuVernay outdid herself with the level of love and precision she’s poured into this show. Adapted from the novel of the same title, Queen Sugar follows the Bordelon family as they run an ailing sugar cane farm their patriarch left behind. The show exposes the hardships of black farming in the deep south of Louisiana paralleled to its white privileged counterparts and the depths a family will go to keep their land theirs while preserving the family. Kofi Siriboe brings vulnerability to Ralph Angel, a young single father with a checkered past trying to do right, while a record tails his every move. Aunt Vi, played by Tina Lifford, shows a different side of a black matriarch: wise, sexy and powerful with a younger chocolate and suave beau, Hollywood (Omar Dorsey). Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), the single mom and businesswoman, takes lead of the farm post cheating scandal from her NBA player ex-husband, forcing she and her teenaged son to flee LA. Her son Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe) is stuck between his posh past and desire to be more pro black. Rutina Wesley is unmatched as Nova in her acting both physical and emotive: a nose ring wearing, hair locked, sage burning activist free in her speech and sexuality, unapologetically. This season, Charley and RA embark on a secret partnership with a rival white owned farm. RA is reeling from the discovery that his beloved son Blue may not be biologically his. Charley continues to make business decisions based on merit versus moral and Aunt Vi and Hollywood plan a wedding while keeping the family unit tight. Wednesdays at 10 are a little sweeter thanks to Queen Sugar.

Black Love Couples 
Black Love
For as much dysfunction as we see on Love & Hip Hop and the likes portraying black marriages, Black Love is a refreshing docu-series showcasing the stories of some of our favorite celebrity couples and everyday people telling their stories of courtship, dating and finally the walk down the aisle. Each episode has a different theme and explores different areas of relationships and how they survived along the way. Newlyweds and couples married 60+ years share their insight into what makes a successful and happy marriage. Directed by filmmakers Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver, the married couple makes their living from interviewing other married couples as a way to gain knowledge on marriage sustainability and a way to expose black love to the world. Grab your bae and some tissues and tune in every Saturday at 10.

Michele Weaver & Will Catlett
Love Is...
Salim and Mara Akil married in 1998 and have been a force to be reckoned with in film and television with shows like Girlfriends, The Game and Being Mary Jane. Most couples who work together don’t last but these two are keeping love alive, both personally and professionally. The Akils are bringing the story of how they came to be a couple to OWN in Love Is. Set primarily in 90’s LA, against a Black Hollywood black drop, it follows Nuri (Michele Weaver) and Yasir (Will Catlett) as they chase their dreams and each other. The show will also revisit the social issues and vibrant black culture of that time and its parallel to how it shaped them 20 years later. Love Is will premiere on June 19.

(left to right) Merle Dandridge, Oprah Winfrey, Lynn Whitfield & Keith David
Greenleaf
The Greenleafs are a semi-corrupt, semi-good Christian Church-owning southern family with secrets that every Black church has seen. Led by Lynn Whitfield as Lady Di, First Lady of Calvary has enough hats and attitude to match. She and her husband Bishop, run a tight ship while the family reels through a painful family omen: their middle daughter Faith commits suicide in the first season after struggling years post sexual abuse from Uncle Mac, Lady Di’s brother and the Church’s deacon. Grace returns after years of absence from the family and church to bring Mac down, much to Lady Di’s dismay. Jacob, the only son, is a recovering adulterer with a wife who wants power and pushes Jacob to start a rivalry Church, Triumph, after Bishop turns down his pleads to preach and instead gives the pulpit to the more talented Grace. The baby sister Charity is mama’s favorite who discovers her husband is gay while pregnant with twins. Going into Season 3, Uncle Mac ends up dead, extramarital affairs between the Bishop and Lady Di are revealed and the Greenleaf grandkids are sexing it up and in abusive relationships while Church is still in session. If you want to partake in such sin, tune in this August for Greenleaf’s resurrection.

Of course, there’s much more that OWN has to offer. Sweetie Pies is in its final season and Tyler Perry is leading the ratings with the dramatic The Have and the Have Nots. OWN is a network to enjoy and when it’s inspirational interviews featuring Motha O return to Super Soul Sundays, the best is yet to come!

Do you have a favorite OWN network show? 
Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

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