2022 Toronto International Film Festival - "The Woman King" Premiere

Backlash Surfaces Over Viola Davis's New Film, 'The Woman King'

Home / Entertainment / Backlash Surfaces Over Viola Davis's New Film, 'The Woman King'

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on September 19, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT

As quickly as fans and critics raved about Viola Davis's new film, "The Woman King", backlash and controversy have sparked regarding "whitewashing the history of the subjects depicted".

Critics and fans are now speaking out, calling for the 2022 film to be boycotted.

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What Is Viola Davis's "The Woman King" About?

2022 Toronto International Film Festival - "The Woman King" Premiere

Viola Davis's new film, 'The Woman King" is one of the most anticipated films of 2022. The movie, which also stars John Boyega, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and others, tells the alternate history of The Kingdom of Dahomey, which is looked at as one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Per the official film synopsis:

In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Faced with a new threat, Gen. Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that's determined to destroy their way of life.

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The film just hit theaters this weekend (the movie came out on September 16, 2022), and it has already received a lot of hype from fans and critics -- even prior to its release. But just as quickly as the hype came, the criticisms are also coming in -- some now even calling to boycott the upcoming movie.

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 "The Woman King" Receives Backlash, Calls For Boycott

Viola Davis at 'The Woman King' Premiere - 2022 Toronto International Film Festival

Many are now speaking out regarding Viola Davis's new film, pointing out the many inaccuracies regarding slavery and now want the film boycotted.

Author/editor, historian, and Howard University professor, Ana Lucia Araujo, PhD, wrote an article, pointing out how the film has many inaccuracies. In the article, she explains that even though "The Woman King" is "a pleasure to watch", it misleads its audience:

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But portraying Dahomey’s rulers and soldiers as pioneers of Pan-Africanism, who fought to end the inhumane slave trade, misleads audiences who might know little of African history and sells short the descendants of enslaved Africans who remained in West African soil or who were forcibly sent to the Americas. As one Agodjie from the Mahi country says in the film, she chose to be “hunter, not prey.” But, unlike their rulers, most African men and women were left with no choice, during the era of the Atlantic slave trade.

Twitter user kmele took to social media to share their opinion on the matter, writing:

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In a sane world, "The Woman King" —a film apparently lionizing a SLAVE TRADING, IMPERIALIST, COLONIAL African nation— might be criticized for taking gross liberties and watering down uncomfortable facts.

Instead, it wins praise for its "love of freedom" + "B"lack culture!? ??


The hashtag #BoycottWomanKing has already received 70+ Tweets within the past hour. One Tweet, from the user EarlLandix, used the hashtag to Tweet:

My people, we have no reason to support this film. Let it fail. They're not our heroes, they're the villains.



Although many are already boycotting the film, it is important that no one can say for sure what "The Woman King" depicts, or form their own opinions on the matter, until they see it with their own eyes.

"The Woman King" is now playing in select theaters.

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