The film Black Panther has inspired new stories based on real-life events in the ancient Dahomey kingdom in West Africa, particularly an all-female military unit dubbed the Dahomey Amazons.
Academy Award winners Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis have teamed up for The Woman King, a movie based on the Dahomey warriors, and Marvel has also announced a three-part comic series focused on the Dora Milaje to be written by Nigerian-American author, Nnedi Okorafor. The latest production inspired by the Amazons is a television series to be co-developed by EbonyLife TV, a five-year old Nigerian television network, and Sony Pictures Television.
The Dahomey Amazons, were thought to be the only all-female front-line military unit in modern history, a combat force of women who were feared across Western Africa for over 200 years from the 17th century. The Amazons were initially set up as elephant hunters in the 17th century. The group slowly morphed into a military unit and became protectors of monarchs in Dahomey, a kingdom in modern day Benin Republic in West Africa. This group of female warriors were the inspiration behind Wakanda’s Dora Milaje characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Okoye, Danai Gurira, and Florence Kasumba.