Nicole Hannah-Jones’ Response to ‘The Woman King’ Sparks Slavery Debate on Twitter

Nicole Hannah-Jones’ Response to ‘The Woman King’ Sparks Slavery Debate on Twitter

Leave it up to investigative journalist Nicole Hannah-Jones to get people thinking about the history behind Viola Davis’ new film, The Woman King.

The film is based on the real-life all-women Agojie warriors who defended the West African kingdom Dahomey (present-day Benin) during the 18th and 19th centuries. Davis plays the film’s central character, General Nanisca, who leads her military regime to defeat their enemies.

While many are excited about the film and its showcasing of African royalty, Hannah-Jones raised a debate around the scarred history of the Dahomey kingdom as it relates to slavery.

The 1619 Project author took to Twitter on Wednesday to share her thoughts on the new flick ahead of its September release date.

“It will be interesting to see how a movie that seems to glorify the all-female military unit of the Dahomey deals with the fact that this kingdom derived its wealth from capturing Africans for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade,” Hannah-Jones tweeted.

“IM NOT TALKING ABOUT BLACK PANTHER,” she added in a separate tweet.

The strong statement raised discourse among Twitter users who either supported Hannah-Jones’ educational take on the new film or took it as hate.

The New York Times contributor responded to one Twitter user who accused her of being “divisive.”

“Seeking truth is divisive?” she asked in response.

Others told her to just opt out of watching the new film.

“As a descendant of slavery, you can step off,” Hannah-Jones quipped.

When looking up the history, the Dahomey kingdom is credited for becoming a major contributor to the Atlantic Slave Trade until 1852 when the British imposed a naval blockade to stop the trade, according to

This disturbing fact might not be featured in The Woman King. But with Hannah-Jones being known for pushing the envelope as a journalist and educator, she found it necessary to remind social media about the real history of the Dahomey kingdom.