‘Queen Sono’ Puts a Saucy African Twist on Modern Espionage Work
Netflix and it’s proprietors are leading the wave of diversity and inclusion for major streaming platforms. Starting off strong with a groundbreaking original series Queen Sono. This six episode journey unfolds as an dangerous dynamic between African radicalists, a Russian heiress (turned mobster) and a fashionable South African secret agent develops. Created by Kagiso Ledigba, this is an escapade we can definitely snap our fingers to.
The excitement that follows from watching James Bond-ish espionage work, is to be expected. However, this first season of Queen Sono gifted us with an open-ended dialogue grounded in Black and African liberation. In this spy thriller there is room for this discourse, badass martial arts, and an honest look at neocolonialism. Pretty groovy! Fashion pieces inspired from Ghana and Nigeria, assorted with dialect from East and Central Africa provide a mellow-mix up, one that can be appreciated by all members of the diaspora. Giving life to this narrative meant tossing out unwarranted stigmas and instead portraying Mama Africa as a technology hub, where growth and opportunities are fast arising.
Amidst her internal self-dual from her Mother’s murder, Queen (Pearl Thusi), works under the intelligence unit, Special Operations Group (SOP). Under oath Queen fights to preserve African freedom, maintain cultural norms and minimize outsider influence. Her bosses, Dr. Isaacs (Sechaba Morojele) and Miri Dube (Chi Mhende) sense vexation in Queen, as she makes moves without command and acts on clouded judgements because like… emotions.
Accompanying the former Quantico star on her characters slightly-destructive assignments are a few notable African actors. Legendary South African actress, Abigail Kubekha, plays Queen’s grandmother. This is thrilling as she breaks the ice and brings in humor, wisdom and witty affirmations.
Sidenote: For anyone who grew up in the diaspora, you know how thrilling it is to have a famous African aunty cast in a lead role!
Queen’s most trusted partner, Fred (Loyiso Madinga) and childhood friend/therapist, William (Khathu Ramabulana) are the calming forces that neutralize Queen’s fluctuating behavior. Shandu (Vuyo Dabula) is a radicalist leader and the right hand man to series villian, Ekaterina. Ekaterina (Kate Liquorish) is the Russian mobster heiress who uses Shandu as a clutch for obtaining power and profit. However, Shandu’s interpretation of his relationship with Ekaterina slowly shifts, as he has his own goals. In short, African clout chasers don’t prevail for too long…at least not in this series.
Sadly as the plot thickened in episode six (the final episode) and as I started to get comfortable and assess who my favorite character was, the season came to an abrupt end. Leaving a lot to be explored.
Although no plans have been revealed for a second season, it’s safe to assume that not even Thanos’s rampage, in Avengers: Infinity War, will have anything on Queen’s explosive need for revenge foreshadowed for season two. All things considered, I deeply encourage you to get into this melanated, thought-provoking, ass kickin’ series!
Queen Sono is now playing on Netflix!