Viola Davis stars as the warrior leader in the new film “The Woman King”, where she is Davis provides the movie with its rock-solid core as General Nanisca, the leader of the Agojie, known as the Dahomey Amazons, an all-women unit who swear off marriage and motherhood to pursue martial arts and defend the West African kingdom. The story basis of the film is written from true events that occurred in the 17th to 19th centuries. In its opening weekend “The Woman King” took over the domestic box office charts. The film grossed $19 million in 3,765 North American cinemas. The expectations for the success of the film were exceeded. “The Woman King” would kick off with $15 million to $18 million, while Sony estimated a debut closer to $12 million. Audiences awarded the film a rare “A+” CinemaScore.
Why “The Woman King”
As a Black woman, Davis dives deep into the narrative of Black women as an entirety. She expressed that, “shooting this movie handed me my dream on a plate.” For not only her but for the other cast members, the movie was a chance for them to be the center of the narrative of power and strength. So, the fact that Black people are at the forefront of a movie that everyone wants to see is monumental. Especially for a Black woman. What people don’t understand is that not only does the film revolve around “the fight” but it was a fight on every level for the movie to get made. Viola motions in one of her interviews that it was a fight for “the producers [and] a proper budget” ect.
Furthermore, the film depicts the vulnerability in the relationship between how black women and men connect with each other through genuine experiences. It expresses a nuance that is special for both the actors and viewers. For the actors, filming on set with people from different backgrounds, set the foundation for black creators to eject productivity and success. Davis believes that “one’s job is to free themselves, to then free others. This was also her motto for the production of “The Woman King.”
The movie itself sends a message to all film creators and directors that this was not a minority opportunity but a majority, especially for Black women, to be more supported and put at the forefront of film. The same old stories being told about the African American communities and the African communities are being put to bed with films like this.
Viewers get a chance to see women of all shades and ages in a different light. To bring the hard and soft side of women to film for millions to see is a vulnerable spot to be in, it takes a strong individual to take the necessary steps to bring those vulnerabilities to life through action. This is a movie that redefines what an action star looks like and what an action movie can be in all of its layers. Every woman has an innate warrior in them but when they’re young, their told to suppress them.
In this film, a Black woman rising to power, showcasing her ability to be loud on screen speaks volumes to the viewers. The cast’s presents are being felt and displayed in all different shapes and sizes. For a young girl to be able to look up, see one of these characters, and be inspired is one of the many purposes the film has. From a historical perspective, Black women and Black professionals have been trying to build and sustain a career in film and TV. Yet, the industry has been a relatively unwelcoming workplace for people of color. Therefore, Viola Davis and the crew of “The Woman King” are opening doors for the opportunity for the world to see a woman of power and other people of color in a different light.
Written by: Johnitha Brown
CNN: ‘The Woman King’ builds an action spectacle around its true story of female warriors by Brian Lowry
Variety: ‘The Woman King’ Leads Box Office With $19 Million Debut by Rebecca Rubin
Viola Davis and the woman King Cast: Youtube
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore Flickr Page – Creative Commons License