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Black Girl Magic: How ‘The Woman King’ Cast Became Warriors

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There’s only one word to describe the women of ‘The Woman King’ … warriors.

The powerful tale directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood is inspired by the largely forgotten history of African female warriors in the Kingdom of Dahomey. The Agoji (a real-life, all-women army) defended the West African nation throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

The film stars Viola Davis who plays Agodjie general Nanisca, Lashuna Lynch, Sheila Atim and Thuso Mbedu.

To develop the physical strength required to play these powerful women, the cast told HipHollywood they trained for months (2-3 hours a day) to get into fighting shape.

“It was hard but a welcome hard, one that we embraced,” said Thuso who plays new recruit Nawi. “We had stunt training for like 3 hours a day and weapons training, we had combat training.”

“I don’t quite believe that I did everything that I did,” joked Lynch who plays Izogie. “I was watching the film and I was like how is my body like this, how was I able to jump that high. I think I went blank for like three months, did it, and as was like Sheila tell me what happened.”

The film, which opens this weekend, not only amplifies the power of black women, it also showcases their beauty from the intricate hair styles, clothing and nails. John Boyega who plays King Gezo told us it was an honor to star alongside so many beautiful melanated women.

“To see them struggling through the training and then to see their bodies changing through the process I was thoroughly inspired by that.”

“It’s one of the reasons I was inspired to join this project,” he added. “I think this is going to be one of the projects that’s mentioned in history to gather some of the best women in the industry.”

 

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