The Woman King Controversy

Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega feature in “The Woman King” The film follows the Dahomey tribe and its all-female warriors in 1800s Africa.

The film deals with African tribes selling slaves to Europeans. The film portrays the Dahomey tribe breaking away from the slave trade out of moral obligation by the conclusion. The tribe prospered from selling slaves until 1852.

The Woman King dominated the box office after its September 16 release with a $19 million opening. Viola Davis, who plays the warrior Nanisca and leads the cast, has been a fierce advocate for the movie, highlighting the Black, predominately female ensemble and the real-life events it is based on as its main draws.

However, the movie is causing some controversy because people like Oscar-winning star Lupita Nyong‘o have discovered a very different background from what the movie portrays.

The Woman King has received widespread praise and a strong opening weekend, but many people on social media have called for a boycott of the movie. Many people have started using the hashtag “#BoycottWomanKing,” including Twitter user @NileRoss. Others have criticized The Woman King's story as dishonest and humiliating, as mentioned in the collection of tweets on Cassius Life.

The Woman King producing team asserts that publications by European colonisers have spread false ideas (LA Times). However, Nyong'o's work on Women Warriors and Lucas' New Yorker article's first-person account of the Agojie survivor provide evidence to the opposite.

Despite the current social media uproar, Nyong‘o seems to be sufficiently turned off the project by what she learned while working on Women Warriors, probably for ethical grounds. But it remains to be seen if The Woman King will overcome the controversy that is currently threatening it.

What Viola Davis Said in Responds to Boycott Woman King?

Before seeing the movie, individuals who had studied up on the Dahomey Kingdom had some reservations. The Dahomey Kingdom, about which The Woman King presents a mostly fabricated tale, participated in the slave trade, and online critics of the movie charged that it glorified and whitewashed the slave trade.

Speaking, Davis and Julius Tennon—her co-star, producing partner, and husband—defended the movie, first by lamenting the pointlessness of engaging in online debate.

You won't win an argument on Twitter, according to [director] Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Davis agreed. “When we started the story, the kingdom was in transition and at a turning point. They sought a means of preserving their civilization and monarchy. They weren't completely wiped out until the late 1800s. The majority of the narrative is made up. There must be.

The Woman King Controversy

Tennon went on to refer to the film as “edu-tainment,” stating that if it didn't “entertain people, then that would be a documentary.” “People wouldn't be in the movies doing the same thing we witnessed this weekend,” if the movie didn't entertain.

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We didn't want to sugarcoat the reality. There are facts in the vast past that have been revealed. People can conduct further research if they wish to learn more.

In the end, Davis is adamant that the film focus on women who were coerced into combat or faced death. Between the ages of eight and 14, according to Davis, they were recruited. “The King enlisted them to defend the Dahomeyan kingdom. They were prohibited from getting married and bearing kids. Those who rejected the call were executed by beheading.

“Don't come see it, then, you're giving a message that Black women can't lead a box office globally, and that you are supporting that narrative,” she said in response to demands for boycotts earlier this year.

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