Executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, the 4-part series begins with the life of Njinga–the complex, captivating, and fearless 17th century warrior queen of Ndongo and Matamba in modern day Angola.
As the nation’s first female ruler, Njinga earned a reputation for her blend of political and diplomatic skill with military prowess while emerging as an icon of resistance.
Check out the trailer below:
Interestingly, African Queens is a docudrama with the historical narrative of Queen Njinga re-created by actor Adesuwa Oni and Pinkett Smith who wanted to anchor a beautifully gripping story in history.
“The difficulty with narrative is that sometimes you want to take creative license and stretch ideas a bit, where I really wanted to be able to stick to the historical facts of each woman. I just felt like that was important, specifically because these are stories that aren’t well known,” said Pinkett Smith in an interview with Tudum.
“There’s lots of historical literature around all the queens of England so, if you decide to stretch their stories in telling a narrative, the purity of their existence is at our fingertips. That’s not the case with Black African queens.”
With African Queens, Pinkett Smith hopes to connect audiences to the fearless, captivating queens who were likely not part of their Western academic curriculum.
“This particular project went through many different machinations, but it started with Willow… I really wanted to represent Black women,” said Pinkett Smith.
“We don’t often get to see or hear stories about Black queens, and that was really important for me, as well as for my daughter, and just for my community to be able to know those stories because there are tons of them!
The sad part is that we don’t have ready access to these historical women who were so powerful and were the backbones of African nations.”
African Queens: Njinga premieres exclusively on Netflix Feb. 15.
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