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The Hub Entertainment Watch List: The Woman King
As Women’s History Month kicks off, fans of action and history will enjoy the empowering 2022 film, “The Woman King.” The Woman King debuted in theaters on September 16, 2022, but the inspiration behind the film begins in the 1840s. Like most films based on a true story, the tale of The Woman King was dramatized, but it stems from the real all-female warrior clan of Dahomey.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Dahomey flourished under the protection of its all-woman military regiment. The pre-colonial African kingdom was located within present-day Benin and existed until 1904. The kingdom allegedly developed after three brothers vied for the kingdom of Allada, which prospered from the slave trade. One brother won control of Allada while the other two fled. Do-Aklin, one of the brothers who fled, established the kingdom of Abomey, which eventually became the core of Dahomey.
Dahomey rose to power by conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast and developed an economy based on conquest, international trade and slave labor. However, the Mino or Dahomey Amazons – as called by European observers – were also a staple of the Kingdom’s culture. The Dahomey Amazons were the woman-led military and they also doubled as royal bodyguards to the Kingdom’s nobles.
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood brought the story of these women to the big screen with the two-hour and 15-minute film starring Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, John Boyega as well as other notable talents. The film follows the story of General Nanisca (portrayed by Davis), who plays an important role in pushing the King to fight back against enemies threatening the Kingdom of Dahomey. Nanisca is backed by her fierce Agojie fighters, whom she guides and trains throughout the film.
The film, which was written by Dana Stevens, grossed over $67 million at the box office. The Woman King has earned over 110 award nominations and won more than 20 of those nominations – including two NAACP Image awards, according to IMBD. Although the film is no longer in theaters, potential viewers can stream The Woman King on Netflix. It is also available to purchase or rent on other platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and Apple TV.