The Woman King Review - Jonathan Ponds
Updated: Oct 12
THE WOMAN KING....
First off, two things can be true at the same time. Speaking about one thing doesn't negate the validity of the other. Did I enjoy The Woman King? Yes! It was a very emotionally moving movie that had a very engaging storyline. I had never heard of these fierce women warriors prior to watching this movie. I enjoyed it and actually saw it twice. HOWEVER...
One thing that I have learned is that Hollywood is for entertainment and NOT education. The Woman King was complete garbage juice when it comes to historic accuracy. It completely betrayed the truth of centuries of history in order to support a 21st century agenda. Where do I start?
First, neither Viola Davis' character, or the other main female character, ever even existed. The movie portrayed the Dahomey basically as abolitionists who were trying to convince the king to stop engaging in the slave trade. In reality, the Dahomey women are responsible for a very large portion of the American slaves actually being bought. With the Trans Atlantic slave trade, you have to look at the supply chain. Where did "the white man" get the slaves? People don't speak about it much, but AFRICANS SOLD AFRICANS into slavery. No this wasn't just something that they did to "the bad guys" as the movie portrays. The Dahomey women engaged in slave raids for the sole purpose of capturing and selling other Africans. If you are reading this and you are a Black American, there's a good chance that your ancestors were sold as slaves in America as a direct result of the Dahomey capturing and selling them in Africa.
This is not the common narrative that is spoken of though. I think that some people just look at slavery in America as the beginning of the timeline. The poor souls who stood upon the slave auction block were previously sold by others with black skin. This movie made it seem as if the men of the rival tribe were the bad guys who were engaging in the slave trade. Not true.
King Ghezo of the Dahomey was often called The Slave King because of how much he participated in the slave trade. At the end of the movie, he states "In order to enslave a people, you must first convince them that they are meant to be bound. No more. No more." They make his choice to end the slave trade seem as if it's a direct result of Viola Davis' character's efforts. Nope! King Ghezo was actually pressured by THE BRITISH (The White Man) to stop engaging in the slave trade.
In 1852, the British imposed a Naval blockade on King Ghezo's ports so that he couldn't sell anymore people as slaves. That's right. The British forced King Ghezo to stop selling his own people. He even started back at the slave trade 5 years later. He was later assassinated by a sniper.
This movie is more about women's empowerment than anything else. They deliberately sacrificed the ugly truth of history upon the altar of Black Girl Magic. They portrayed the Dahomey as strong, independent, warrior women who were opposed to the slave trade, when the Dahomey warriors actually owned and sold slaves themselves. The Dahomey would cut and rip out the lower jawbone of some of their LIVING enemies. These women were brutal and many historians view them as THE VILLAINS of the TRUE story. Would you be able to tell that by the movie? Nope.
So, did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Hollywood is for entertainment. Under the surface, was it a good story? No. The creators of this movie presented a flawed version of history that completely turns its back on the role that the Dahomey played in the selling of their own people.
Check out my recent Youtube upload if you'd like to hear more about this...