The Woman King (2022)

I had to stop and drop this trailer reaction on y’all!

The Dahomey Amazons (Fon:”Mino” or “Minon” or “Agoji“) were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey which existed until 1904. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia and the Black Sea. This unusual emergence of an all-female military regiment was the result of Dahomey’s male population facing high casualties in frequent warfare with neighboring West African states, as well as Dahomey being forced to annually give male slaves to the Oyo Empire. The lack of men likely led the kings of Dahomey to recruit women into the army.[1]

I am so excited about this film, and not just because it stars a who’s who of Black famousity from the US, Africa, and England (Viola Davis, John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, and Angelique Kidjo), but because it’s based on the true story of the Dahomey Amazons. The lead character, Nanisca is played by Viola and the movie is directed by the same Black woman who directed, The Secret Life of Bees, Love and Basketball, and The Old Guard, Gina Prince-Bythewood, so her Action credentials are legitimate. The Dahomey were the inspiration behind the Black Panther’s Dora Milaje, and DC’s depiction of the Amazons. They were also featured in an episode of Lovecraft Country titled “I am”. (And yeah, it’s just a joy to see an entire cast of dark-skinned Black women in an Action movie. Representation matters, y’all!)

I love that these characters are not there to be cute, dress fine, and be sexy. They are warriors shown being warriors and I’m glad the action doesn’t pull any punches simply because these are women, and yet, it is still beautifully filmed. The women are shown to be powerful with strong emotional expressions (if you remember Joss Whedon’s instructions to Scarlett Johansson to not show emotions on her face when she fights). Viola is selling it, as always. Their skin looks gorgeous, which I have to mention because too often Black characters look washed out and/or gray onscreen.

The movie is set for release on September 16th.

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