Netflix began streaming a powerful and spell-binding series narrated by Jada Pinkett Smith, African Queens on February 15, and it is a jewel.
What is African Queens?
African Queens is a rare and in-depth look at Africa’s often overlooked royals. It is a recreation of a retelling of the narrative of the most powerful, bold, fearless, and beautiful women who ruled in the great continent of Africa. It is told through the voices of scholars and historians, and its dramatized for greater effectiveness. While the lens is trained on the narrative of the queen, it examines the whole of her surroundings. African Queens examines the culture, political structure, customs, and practices of those who are her people. It is a selection that exquisitely showcases so much of Africa, the regality of the leaders, the innovativeness, societal structure, and the raw and natural gloriousness of the land they inhabit. However, it does so without sacrificing some of the uglier truths. Instead, it gives a robust perspective offering context while educating its viewers.
Jada Pinkett Smith not only narrates the moving docu-series, but she also serves as Executive Producer. However, it is told from an African perspective. According to iAfrica, African Queens is written by Kenyan-born storyteller Peres Owino and British diplomat NneNne Iwuji. This project comes via Smith’s Westbrook Studios and independent film studio Nutopia. However, for Smith, this series is a passion project, a means to educate and empower. According to iAfrica, “Pinkett, who was a key force behind the project, has cited the imperative nature of reviving these stories of African female leadership to empower today’s young, black women.” While it does much to empower female viewership, it is an offering that inspires the whole community.
Queen Njinga (Nzinga)
The segment now streaming focuses on Queen Njinga of Ndongo. And it retells her story so that the world will not only know her name but remember her legacy and impact. As iAfrica cites, “Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba came to a position of power during the 17th century, when she ruled over Angola and fought off Portuguese settlers., a feat worthy of the annals of history.
Hip-Hop and the Promotion
Hip-hop is a culture, a movement, a complex structure held up by multiple pillars. There are four basic tenants or pillars, or in some circles, classed as elements that some hip-hop scholars define as language. And those languages are breakdance, rap, deejaying, and graffiti. While these are the primary pillars, they are not the only pillars. According to an article by Midnation, there are rather nine pillars. One of those remaining five pillars includes knowledge. Midnation notes, “In the book The Fifth Element of Hip Hop Knowledge, Travis L. Gosa affirms that knowledge is the fifth fundamental pillar of this culture. Without it, the other elements would not be cohesive.”
So as a celebration of hip-hop and black history, FM Hip Hop aims to uphold the pillars of spreading and sharing a wealth of information that informs the populace and promotes, uplifts, and advances the culture.
For those interested in a cultural exploration of kingdoms and rulers of the great African continent and the empires that stretched across that land, tune in to African Queens.