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Series / Queen (1993)
aka: Queen

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Known as "Alex Haley's Queen", this Mini Series is a parallel story to Haley's Roots, telling viewers the life story of his paternal grandmother (the previous Mini Series focused on the maternal side of his family).

Contains examples of:

  • All Women Are Prudes: Lizzy's mother tells her to be grateful for James' continuous raping of Easter—"If it weren't for the slave women, we would have to submit to our husbands whenever they wanted!", all but stating that she herself has had to turn a blind eye to her own husband raping slave girls.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Queen is the result of her enslaved mother Easter's rape (as consensual relationships weren't truly consensual) with James Jackson, the son of her wealthy plantation owner. Given the times, she can never be anything but a slave in a non-consensual relationship with her master.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Most of James and Easter's dialogue indicates that they've known and loved each other since they were children.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Adding to Queen's dichotomy, she's taken to be a lady's maid to the child her father has with his white wife (her half-sister) and therefore grows up with the same advantages as her, meaning that she genuinely identifies more with the white side of her family. She gets a harsh awakening when she's tossed out after the Civil War.
  • Chocolate Baby: A woman who befriends Queen warns her that she’s playing a dangerous game in passing for white and letting herself be courted by a white man, asking how she intends to explain “giving birth to a black pickaninny” should the couple marry.
  • Cool Old Lady: Subverted with Sally, who rebukes Queen when she refers to James as her father, but also seems genuinely fond of her and sincerely tells her that she'll miss her when she leaves after the war and even gives her a little money.
  • Damsel in Distress: Queen, throughout most of the Mini Series.
  • Dies Wide Open: Easter
  • Dramatic Shattering: When vibrations from a nearby battle cause china and glass to fall from the cabinet and break, the butler joins in and starts smashing dishes himself, laughing hysterically with joy and the realization that his time as a slave is finally over.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Before going to fight in the Civil War, James tells Easter, "Know that I will have loved you until the moment that I died." When she herself dies, he tearfully collapses over her body and chokes out, "My love. . ."
  • Evil Old Folks: Queen works as a maid for a pair of religious fanatic spinster sisters. Although initially kind to her, they basically slut shame her after she gets pregnant out of wedlock and become so obsessed with saving her son's soul that she has to flee when she realizes that they're planning to take him away from her. The sad irony is that they truly believe that they're doing the right thing.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Queen insists that she's going to keep her baby after her friend takes her to the local abortionist, but it could simply be that she's terrified of being hurt or killed by the untrained woman.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Throughout Queen's life, she endures considerable trauma from both whites and blacks, who make it clear that she doesn't belong with either side.
  • Hiding Your Heritage: What Queen attempts several times. She never does it again after she blurts out the truth to her fiancé and he reacts by beating and raping her.
  • Hysterical Woman: Lizzy, as Jane suffers from and eventually dies from diphtheria. In one of her few humane moments, she tearfully collapses in Easter's arms and even apologizes for slapping her.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: When Lizzy announces that she's pregnant again after James returns from the war, he declares that he hopes the baby is a girl—"Since Jane died, I need a little daughter to love." A hurt and angry Queen storms out of the dining room upon hearing this.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Easter breaks into a coughing fit that's bad enough for an alarmed Sally to tell another slave to get Queen immediately. James himself is rushing to her slave quarters when he hears Queen let out a Cathartic Scream and realizes that she's passed away.
  • Marriage Before Romance: James Sr. finds Jr's desire to marry for love ridiculous, outright declaring "Love's got nothing to do with it. It's for sons and honor." Unusually, he softens his statement by assuring him that love will come later, telling him that he now loves Sally deeply even though he didn't when they first married.
  • Odd Friendship: Cap'n Jack and Sally, to the point of her visiting him on his deathbed to give him the papers guaranteeing his freedom.
  • Open Secret: That Queen is James' daughter. Queen suspects it, but it's not until he leaves for war that Easter confirms it. No one else ever discusses it and the two times Queen brings it up, she's rebuked by her grandmother Sally and slapped by Lizzy. Not even when she leaves the plantation for good can James admit it.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Lizzy and James' daughter Jane dies of diphtheria when there's an outbreak during the Civil War.
  • Rape as Drama: Queen is raped by a white man once she admits that she's black and has been passing for white. The woman who took her in is cruelly unsympathetic, snapping, "You're not special! We've all been raped!", and further taunts her about how her privileged upbringing has left her thinking that she's better than other blacks and completely clueless about how to survive in the real world.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Queen's fiancé knocks her to the floor after she admits that she's black, undoes his belt. . . and the next thing we see is her staggering down the street, bruised and disheveled.
  • Sex for Solace: James and Easter consummate their relationship when he goes to her quarters after his father dies.
  • Sympathetic Slave Owner: The Jackson family is this—-son James is mocked and beaten up by by several boys from another family when he angrily stops them from harassing the washwomen, and he later angers Lizzy when he reprimands her for slapping Easter-—"We don't treat our slaves like that!".
  • Time Skip: 4-year old Queen goes upstairs. . .and a teenage Queen comes downstairs a minute later.
  • Unbalanced By Rival's Kid: James' wife Lizzy resents Queen all of her life and when she finally leaves when freed after the Civil War, bitterly tells her husband, "I'm glad she's gone. Because everytime I looked at her, I had to remember that you loved another woman more than me."

Alternative Title(s): Queen