Exclusive: Rutina Wesley & Dawn-Lyen Gardner Speak On ‘Queen Sugar’s’ Connection With Nature

- By Bossip Staff

Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for National Park Foundation

We broke it here first…

Rutina Wesley And Dawn-Lyen Gardner Speak on ‘Find Your Park’ And Queen Sugar

Two stars of Ava Duvernay’s NOLA based family drama spoke with journalists about the show’s Louisianan roots and their own personal ties to nature.

BOSSIP was on hand for the National Association of Black Journalists conference and rode New Orleans’ historic Creole Queen paddle-wheeler alongside Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner of “Queen Sugar.”

While there we learned that the two OWN stars are actually ambassadors for the “Find Your Park” campaign by the National Park Foundation with a goal of getting Americans to enjoy the great outdoors and embark on adventures at national parks in their local areas.

Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for National Park Foundation

According to Rutina who traveled with Dawn-Lyen and journalists to NOLA’s Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, her character Nova Bordelon would love to reflect on serene environments like our national parks that are engrossed in history and culture. She notes, however, the obvious fact; our parks are being trumped by the entertainment of cell phones and iPads.

“Playing Nova has helped me embrace myself and I feel like our youth they don’t play anymore, they’re on their phone or on their iPads,” said Wesley. That’s why I think this is really important to spread to the millennials and down and even those who think they may be too old for the park.

“I think Nova would say, there’s a moment being started about black folks getting into nature and back into going outside,” she added. “I think she would also say that kids don’t play outside anymore. That’s kinda where I got that from, I thought ‘what would Nova say?’ What I love about her is that she learns, she sees her own flaws in things and then goes, ‘If I see this, I wonder if anyone else feels that way.'”

As for Dawn-Lyen, working with park rangers and Find Your Park allowed her to finally explore the rich history of the gulf city that birthed her character, Charley Bordelon.

“For me I didn’t get a chance when we were shooting this season and last season to really explore the parks of New Orleans,” said Dawn-Lyen.”So for me I was very interested and I wanted to learn and I was hoping for what happened today which is I felt that my experience was deepened. I feel like I have more of the context for the land and the history of it.”

Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for National Park Foundation

Fans will get to see Rutina and Dawn-Lyen back as the Bordelon sisters when “Queen Sugar” returns in October. For more information on #FindYourPark and your local parks, click here.

-dani canada

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