Netflix has officially introduced us to the first queen being celebrated in their new series African Queens– and we’re absolutely buzzing. Africans Queenscomes via executive producer and series narrator Jada Pinkett Smith and the global streaming service, as they bring life to the many female powerhouses that shaped post-colonial Africa. First up is Angola’s fearless ruler Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, who makes her debut on Netflix this February, 15th.
American actress and talk show host Jada Pinkett Smith signs on as both executive producer and series narrator and has been open about her excitement over the project. Smith said in a statement, “There are so many stories to be told in regard to the Black experience globally. I think that it’s important to tell the stories now because we can and haven’t always been able to. Even though there’s a lot more work to do, we’re at a place now where we have the ability and the opportunity to tell stories that have been forgotten as well as the stories that are part of our everyday lives, and what a gift that is. It’s a testament to standing on the shoulders of all of those that came before us that didn’t have the opportunities that we have but were part of carving out the path for all of us to get to where we are today. African Queens is in honor of that.” The show was picked up for two seasons and aims to blend dramatization with factual recounts from historians over four, 45-minute episodes.
Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba came to prominence during the 17th century, when she ruled over Angola and fought off Portuguese settlers. Some confusion circulates around the correct spelling of the late queen’s name, as different historians refer to her as Njinga, her native name was Ngola Njinga, or her Christian name, Ana de Sousa.
The show is written by Kenyan-born storyteller Peres Owino and British diplomat NneNne Iwuji and comes via Smith’s Westbrook Studios and independent film studio Nutopia. Be sure to catch the series premiere on February 15th, available globally on Netflix.