Beguiling audiences since its June debut, Greenleaf, OWN’s newest dramatic series is everything TV has been missing: an empowering and introspective narrative of one of the longest yet untouchable institutions in Black America: The Black Church. If there was ever cause to question if Oprah Winfrey’s latest effort would have legs beyond the hype or Tyler Perry, OWN is gifting audiences with an incredibly exciting and healing commentary ever true to the Oprah brand in the form of evening TV made for Twitter Moments and non-stop binge-watching.
But Greenleaf does more than that. The story tugs at your core, makes you slap your hand over your mouth in disbelief, and wows you with spectacular reads and shady one-liners brought to you by the legendary Lynn Whitfield, whose character Real Housewives of Atlanta stars could only dream to sling. Whitfield’s Lady Mae, the First Lady of Greenleaf World Ministries and the matriarch of the Greenleaf dynasty, does more than anchor the show’s narrative, she extends to viewers a level of dramatic delivery unseen in recent memory, and easily comparable to a Dynasty-era Diahann Carroll. Lady Mae shares the screen with Merle Dandridge starring as the benevolent Grace Greenleaf, who returns home to find out why her sister Faith killed herself, and Keith David who was born to star as a leading preacher man, Bishop Greenleaf whose powerful hand commands it all. Together this powerhouse ensemble masterfully weaves a plot that blows the lid on the incest we habitually hush, and forbidden homosexuality that floats from sanctuary pews to choir robes. But most strikingly, Greenleaf channels and challenges mega church controversy from Bishop Eddie Long’s alleged escapades to Creflo Dollar’s private jet.
With only four episodes left to the season, here’s a look at all the explosive details you’ve been missing on Greenleaf:
First Lady Mae’s Reads
With lines like: “Promise me you’re not here to sow discord in the fields of my peace,” and the one that took us all out: “And who are you to stand here talking about being called by God, looking like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet!,” Whitfield is giving us new heights of petty.
Between Lamman Rucker, Tye White and Benjamin ‘Bae’ Patterson, Greenleaf’s men who will have you repenting in sweat!
Mega Church Uncut
Greenleaf tackles polarizing topics in the Church like homosexuality and gross misappropriations of funds. Bishop Greenleaf may be fighting off the IRS for “gifts” that fund the Dynasty’s lavish Memphis living, and let’s just say Charity Greenleaf (Deborah Joy Winans) is dealing with a husband (Tye White) who has a taste for a little something Charity can’t give.
Auntie Oprah in Rare Form
Oprah stars as Marvis McCready, Lady Mae’s estranged sister. If you thought Sophia gave you life, Marvis is giving you favorite Auntie shade like none other.
We’re just waiting for OWN to give us a Greenleaf album for our Sunday praise dance. Gospel legends Shirley Caeser lends her voice to the show’s theme song, and Deborah Joy Winans, the niece of Cece and Bebe Winans can be regularly seen on any given episode, beautifully wailing out original tunes.
Long Overdue Awareness on Incest, Molestation and Sexual Abuse
One of the most critical parts of ‘Greenleaf’, and what easily makes the series breakthrough, is its fearless pursuit to put a spotlight on incest, molestation and sexual abuse, a painfully obscured affliction that has plagued women and men for generations. Uncle Mac (Gregalan Williams) is a sick man and his big sister and protector Lady Mae just can’t accept what he could have done to Faith and other teenage girls. But Grace is about ready to swing a mighty sword that could change the Greenleaf family and ministry forever.
Watch Greenleaf on OWN Wednesdays at 10pm ET.
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