Throughout her career actress Lupita Nyong’o has brought the narratives of strong Black women to the big screen, and now the Black Panther star will delve into the real-life unsung stories of African women warriors. According to Deadline, Nyong’o will be featured in an upcoming documentary centered on an all-women army from West Africa.
The project—dubbed Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong’o—will be featured on the UK broadcast network Channel 4. The documentary will uncover the history behind a group called Agoji; an army of 4,000 women who battled against Europeans and Africans in the Kingdom of Dahomey between the 17th and 19th centuries. Nyong’o will journey through Benin to explore the army’s legacy.
“This was a unique opportunity to combine Lupita Nyong’o s passion and forensic interest in the power and origin of stories with grassroots research in Benin. The Agojie women were recruited by their kings across three centuries and fought in huge numbers in highly-trained battalions,” said Bettany Hughes who serves as Creative Director at SandStone Global; the company producing the documentary. “Women have frequently been written out of history, and powerful women fetishized – this is a case in point. Lupita Nyong’o asks searing questions about power play in history and who tells whose story.” The Agoji army served as inspiration for the all-women army in Black Panther.
Nyong’o has a few projects in the works. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she will star in a 10-episode series titled Americanah which is based on the award-winning novel written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The story focuses on a Nigerian-born woman who travels to America where she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
Nyong’o says she strives to use her artistry as a way to impact people’s lives. “I’m not weighted by it at all. I’m inspired by it. I know that every time such an opportunity comes my way, it is changing the narrative,” she told AnOther Magazine in an interview. “Every time someone shares their experience of how I might have affected them, I’m very happy for that, but I don’t do it for the symbolism. I think the thing that’s steering me forward is not to be a symbol, it’s to be active.”