When I saw #BoycottWomanKing trending on Twitter, I wanted to see “The Woman King” even more. Whenever someone on social media tells you to boycott a movie, you should probably see the movie. You might be missing out on something special. “The Woman King” is less about the slave trade and more about the bonds of love.
“The Woman King” boycotters reacted to the trailer that came out two months ago. I doubt any of the boycotters will see the movie and change their mind. That’s the nature of outrage culture. Stir up a dumpster fire, reap the clicks on social media, and move on to the next dumpster fire.
What was the complaint about “The Woman King” based on the trailer? Downplaying that Black Africans were more involved in the slave than white Americans and Europeans.
In short, the movie was historically inaccurate.
“The Woman King” is a Hollywood movie that will always sacrifice historical accuracy in the name of entertainment. If you don’t want entertainment, go watch the History Channel. Although some of their programs are just as questionable about historical accuracy.
“The Woman King” is set in 1823 when the slave trade was still flourishing. The British ended their slave trade in the 1830s and forced the African kingdoms to stop in the 1850s. If you watched the movie carefully, the slave trade came to a brief halt.
“The Woman King” begins with General Nanisca, played by Viola Davis, leading the Agojie, the female warriors of the Dahomey kingdom, against an Oyo Empire village. After killing all the men, they freed their own people and took the survivors captive.
She tells the Dahomey king, played John Boyega, that the slave trade needs to end. Every kingdom grows weaker from fighting each other and selling their captives to slave traders. The king agrees to expand the Agojie to fight against the Oyo Empire and the slave traders.
Nawi, played by Thuso Mbedu, refuses to marry the old men that her family arranges for her. Her adoptive father, infuriated over another rejected husband, hands her over to the king. She joins the Agojie to train as a warrior.
Nanisca and Nawi starts butting heads during training. You can feel that chemistry between them. Almost as if they were mother and daughter. Before a major battle, they discover that they are mother and daughter. Separated at birth because Nanisca wanted to be a warrior and Nawi was a rapist’s baby.
Nawi and others get captured as slaves during the battle and taken to the port town. Nanisca defies the king and goes alone to free them. A group of men and women follows her out on to the road to the port town. After releasing the captives, they kill all the Oyo warriors and the slave traders.
The king promotes Nanisca as the woman king to be his co-ruler over the Dahomey kingdom.
The Box Office
“The Woman King” made $19 million US in opening weekend and $11 million US this past weekend. A 42% drop from first weekend to second weekend, whereas most blockbusters drop 50% to 70%. The movie is on track to expand its audience on word of mouth and become a serious Oscar contender.
As for the boycott, it trended on Twitter for the opening weekend and then fizzled out. Expect the boycotters to be back for “Wakanda Forever” in November. The women warriors in that movie were also based on the Dahomey Agojie.
Something about strong Black women on the big screen that sends boycotters off to the deep end.