Sony Pictures Television has jumped on the Black Panther hype with an announcement that they will be developing a television show about African female warriors with pan-regional African broadcaster studio Ebony Life.
The Dahomey Amazons/Warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey, present-day Republic of Benin, were an all-female front-line regiment. They were a fearsome group of African women who started off as elephant hunters, protectors and providers for their communities when the men were at war. It is believed that the third king of Dahomey started the group, and his son than furthered the idea by establishing a female bodyguard unit, arming them with muskets, machetes, and spears. Records indicate that they began in the 17th century and were disbanded in 19th century after the French colonized the region.
This is the second project about the Dahomey Warriors to be announced after the release of Black Panther. Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o will star in, The Woman King, as a mother-daughter duo that are part of the all-female military unit. Davis will play the general. The project will be produced by Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions, Maria Bello of Jack Blue Productions, and Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment. TriStar has purchased the worldwide rights.
The Dahomey Warriors are believed to be the inspiration for the Dora Milaje who were brought to the big screen for the first time this past February, and will return in Infinity War in April. Wakanda’s Dora Milaje were led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba). As Marvel is preparing for Infinity War, talks of what will happen next for Black Panther and the Dora Milaje have been kept under wraps. This allows for the other studios to take advantage of Black Panther‘s success and develop projects to appeal to an audience that wants more badass warrior women, and more positive depictions of Africa.
Ebony Life CEO Mo Abudu:
“Ever since our launch in June 2013, our vision has always been to change the narrative about Africa and to tell our stories from our perspective. We have invested in the creation of quality programming and the development of our people and their ideas. It is this ethos that has given us the opportunity to partner with a world-class organisation like Sony Pictures Television. Now we have the opportunity to bring the fascinating story of The Dahomey Warriors, and many others like it, to audiences around the world. It has been hard work getting here, but that’s what we are known for at Ebony Life. As I always say, ‘If you can think it, you can do it’.”
Ebony Life is Africa’s first global black entertainment and lifestyle network for the pan-African audience. The series will broadcast internationally. The Dahomey Warriors series is in active development, and is one of 3 projects Sony is developing with Ebony Life.