Viola Davis Defends ‘The Woman King’ Against Critics

Viola Davis Defends ‘The Woman King’ Against Critics

Actress Viola Davis is defending her box office smash, The Woman King, against critics who questioned the historical accuracy of the film. The Woman King was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and is an epic based on the lives of the Agojie warriors, an all-female army in the African Kingdom of Dahomey between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Davis responded to critics of the film who complained that The Woman King glorified the Agojie. The Kingdom of Dahomey was involved in the slave trade, and some critics called for a boycott of the film on social media. Davis told Variety that the film was a fictionalized account based on a true story.

“First of all, I agree with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s saying is you’re not going to win an argument on Twitter,” said Davis. “We entered the story where the kingdom was in flux, at a crossroads. They were looking to find some way to keep their civilization and kingdom alive. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that they were decimated. Most of the story is fictionalized. It has to be.”

Davis also noted that human stories are universal, despite Hollywood’s reluctance to tell new stories.

“There was a sense that our stories aren’t universal and can’t reach the white man or woman or the Hispanic man or woman,” said Davis. “I feel human stories are for everyone, not just Black consumption.”

The Oscar-winning actress also shared a story about a white woman who asked if she was surprised that the story could reach her as a white woman.

“No. I know my story can reach you as your story can reach me. The only one it surprises is you,” Davis replied.

The film is resonating with audiences, and Davis spoke about the movie’s positive effect on people.

“I saw a TikTok video today of women in a bathroom of an AMC theater, and I don’t think they knew each other. They were all chanting and ruminating. That cannot be quantified by words.”

The Woman King surpassed predictions and earned more than $19 million during its opening weekend.