Meshell Ndegeocello
Meshell Ndegeocello

Years ago, during a discussion on this blog about what musicians I’d love to have score a film that I directed, Meshell Ndegeocello was in my top 5.

I’ve been a fan for a long time; the bassist, singer, and songwriter is an artist in every sense of the word, and her music just doesn’t get the kind of mainstream attention that I believe it deserves. But that’s OK.

She scored a few commercial hits early in her career, although in recent years, her music has continued to evolve, becoming even more personal, and what some have described as “challenging” given the themes (race, gender, sex, sexuality, and politics among others) she tackles unabashedly.

But it’s all great music! From her 1993 debut, Ndegeocello has built a discography that beautifully defies classification, incorporating a progressive mix of genres, including jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and rock, supporting bold, sensual, memorable lyrics, whether sung or rapped.

So it was a pleasure to read the below tweet from Ava DuVernay this afternoon, announcing Ndegeocello as composer for her upcoming OWN network TV series, “Queen Sugar.”

Ndegeocello’s most recent studio album – her 11th – was released in the summer of 2014, under the title “Comet, Come to Me” via Naïve Records.

I’m sure the “Queen Sugar” soundtrack will be a *hot* buy.

Produced by Warner Horizon Television, the contemporary drama “Queen Sugar” chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana: Nova (Rutina Wesley “True Blood”), a world-wise journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner “Unforgettable”), the savvy wife and manager of an NBA star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe “Awkward”), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption. After a family tragedy, the Bordelons must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South.

“Queen Sugar” debuts as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

Led by DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, all “Queen Sugar” debut season episodes are directed by women, including Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned”), Victoria Mahoney (“Yelling to the Sky”), Tanya Hamilton (“Night Catches Us”), So Yong Kim (“Lovesong,” “Treeless Mountain”), Kat Candler (“Hellion”), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Eureka”) and Neema Barnette (“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day,” “Being Mary Jane”).

“Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey. The series is inspired by the book by Natalie Baszile.