'Queen Sugar' star Bianca Lawson previews Darla's emotional family reunion

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Bianca Lawson as Darla and Kofi Siriboe as Ralph Angel in ‘Queen Sugar’ (Photo: OWN)

Family ties can unravel after years of estrangement, and this week on Queen Sugar, Darla (Bianca Lawson) will discover if those bonds can be rebuilt.

She reunites with her parents, Darlene (Michael Michele) and Quincy (Roger Guenveur Smith), after six years of radio silence. Darla has been sober for two years, is engaged to Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), and proved a good mother to Blue (Ethan Hutchison), but this stage of her recovery is still fraught with anxiety.

“It’s that almost most delicate point, because it can go either way,” Lawson tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Everything is still so new. She’s still so early in her recovery. So there’s all of that emotionality, that fear of relapsing, that determination not to relapse, all these new experiences so wonderful and painful that she didn’t have to confront before, and all these ups and downs.”

Seeing her mother and father again is sure to dredge up old wounds, and Lawson says the scenes with Michele are especially heavy.

“Relationships between mothers and daughters are so complex, and especially if they’ve been estranged for six years,” she says. “I think you can expect a lot of revelations. You’ll probably see things about Darla that maybe you didn’t really notice before. There’s something about when you see someone’s mother, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s where she comes from, I didn’t see that part of her before.’ No one really knew her backstory, no one really knew where she was from or what her parents were going to be like. There’s something about Darla’s resilience that I think Michael really imbues in Darlene.”

This season has put a spotlight on Darla, and therefore on Lawson, who’s loved the challenge.

“It’s been really, really great for me as an actor because there are so many layers, so many complexities, so many things going on,” she says. “There’s a vulnerability and fragility about Darla, but I truly think she’s the strongest character I’ve ever portrayed because she’s had to survive on her own and move through all of this change alone, and in such a precarious emotional, physical, psychological state.”

Queen Sugar airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on OWN.

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