‘The Woman King’ Severs The Strong Black Woman Trope — For Good

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‘The Woman King’ Severs The Strong Black Woman Trope — For Good


Naniska, the Agojie’s reserved yet audacious leader, is Viola Davis at her finest. Somehow, even after literally changing the face of television as Annalise Keating and leaving us in awe after multiple Oscar-nominated, snot-cry inducing performances, Davis has managed to outdo herself. The performance is surprising — more subdued and soft than people may have been expecting (and the accent, while slightly unsteady at times, is strong enough to keep up with her heavyweight performance). But Davis’s superpower as an actor is that even when there’s no doubt she’s the most powerful person in the room (or battlefield), she’s also always tapping into a rare relatability in every character. Whether she’s Ma Rainey defiantly demanding a white man get her a Coke, Rose in Fences standing up to her cheating husband, or she’s General Naniska holding court with King Ghezo (John Boyega, who leaps off screen with magnetic regal charisma) attempting to convince him to end Dahomey’s role in the slave trade, Davis manages to make each plight feel universal, like it’s your coke, your cheating husband, and your King who needs counsel. 



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