As many have made mention of over the last few days, we may not see a female sovereign wear the British crown for a long time. At the same time, a Woman King ascended the cinematic throne this weekend. 


The cast of The Woman King, led by Viola Davis, was in Toronto last weekend for the film’s world premiere. This is a popcorn movie, a blockbuster, and the comparisons that have come up are Gladiator and Braveheart – movies about warrior men that attracted big audiences. But as Viola said many times during promotional events, people will show up for warrior women too, and they did. 

This is also a win for director Gina Prince-Bythewood. 


Still, even though Viola and the team were confident in their movie, they were also well aware of the consequences of people not showing up for them. Movies about warrior men get made all the time, doesn’t matter how they perform at the box office. But if one movie about warrior women, specifically Black women, doesn’t do well, there’s a real risk that there won’t be another one. 


As the box office shows, people pulled up, proving to Hollywood executives that Black women can lead. But will they believe it? Even in the days leading up to the movie’s opening, as it played to strong reception at TIFF with critics agreeing and praising the film, the expectations were low. And that too is an indication of industry bias. 

There are many people in Hollywood who have a narrative that they’re determined to stick to. The Woman King refused to play into that narrative. 

Attached: Viola Davis and team at The Woman King Special Screening at the National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.