“I will say that I stand corrected. I used to use the word 'diversity' all the time. 'We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters ...' Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I've learned from [Ava DuVernay] that the word that most articulates what we're looking for is what we want to be: included.”
Anthony Godby Johnson, we were all told, had the worst boyhood in human history. During the ‘80s, Tony was beaten, abused, prostituted, raped, and passed around a pedophile ring. He became homeless, was dying of AIDS and syphilis, and had his leg amputated. Oh, and a gang wanted to murder him. His life reads like the backstories of 20 “strong” female characters rolled into one.
When calling a suicide hotline (because who wouldn’t?), Tony was connected to Vicki Johnson, who saved him from his living nightmare. Vicki said she befriended the dying-of-everything-under-the-sun Tony, nursed him back to health, and helped him write about what happened. His 1993 memoir A Rock And A Hard Place came out when he was just 14. It became a bestseller, the movie rights were picked up by HBO, and it was even featured on the always-trustworthy Oprah. America couldn’t get enough of the boy with a thousand Sin City stories in his life.
But cracks started to show when people wanted to meet Tony, as Vicki had never let anyone meet the sickly, sickly boy. A few people had talked to him on the phone, and noted that he had an effeminate voice that was strangely similar to Vicki’s. We know what you’re thinking: the twist is that Vicki and Tony were long-lost twins! But shockingly, no. When 20/20 had a voice analyst examine some recordings, he concluded that Vicki and Tony were the same person. Gasp!
I made it known in the industry that I wanted to do a show and was being approached by some of the notables that most people would want to do a show with, but when your friend owns a network, you know, it might be good to just go over there.
“Queen Sugar is a great example of television that embraces and normalizes marginalized voices in front of the camera as well as behind it. What makes this series so special is that DuVernay has assembled a team of seven female directors, many of whom are making their first foray into television, to helm the 13 episodes of its first season.”