News Brief

The Heroic Story of Dahomey Kingdom’s Fierce ‘Amazons’ Is Coming to TV

‘NCIS’ producer Charles F. Johnson is developing the incredible story of Dahomey Kingdom’s women warriors for a made-for-TV series.

A West African gem of a story (that doesn't involve slavery) has been unearthed and is in the process of being brought to television.


NCIS producer Charles F. Johnson partnered with French producer-director-writer Joy Fleury, and producer Karen Gordy to tell the incredible story of The Dahomey women warriors, or Amazons, as the made-for-TV series is titled, according to Deadline.

If you haven’t heard of these fierce women, they formed an all-female militia comprised of 6,000 soldiers who protected and expanded the borders of the Kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin) for nearly 200 years before the French colonized the West African country in 1894, according to Shadow & Act.

By the way, Dahomey was the last West African empire that withstood colonization, and gender parity including ruling authority were values intricately woven into the fabric of society.

Photo of veteran Dahomey warriors, said to be taken in the early half of the 20th century by a French newspaper via Shadow & Act

African and African-American studies academic Suzanne Preston Blier of Harvard University will serve as historian overseeing the authenticity of the production.

The live-action TV series that counts showrunner Didier Lacoste (L’ecole du Pouvoir) and writer-director Armand Bernardi, well-versed in Dahomey shamanistic practice, among its creative team hasn’t found a network home yet. But considering the historical significance of the story and the incredible bravery these women warriors have demonstrated, even the French acknowledged how formidable they were, TV networks would be foolish to bypass Amazons.

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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