Netflix’s ‘African Queens’ EP Says ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Woman King’ Clear the Way for Jada Pinkett Smith-Touted Docu-Drama

Exclusive: Blockbuster hit black leopard And Woman is king Jada Pinkett Smith-narrated docu-drama clears path for Netflix success african queen, According to the show’s executive.

Premiering this week, African Queens First, Queen Nzinga of Angola and later Cleopatra will tell the story in the second season. It is produced by Welcome to the world with Will Smith indie Nutopia and Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios.

Speaking exclusively to Deadline ahead of tonight’s London screening, EP Maxine Watson, who has worked on some of Britain’s biggest bona fide hits, says recent blockbusters have created a landscape that shows African Queens can develop. A separate Njinga drama from Starz, which is being produced by 50 Cent, is also in the works.

“Now is a wise time to launch The Woman is king And Wakanda forever It made it easy for Netflix to tell this story,” he said. “We hope it can inspire the next generation.”

idea for African Queens Comes from Willow Smith, daughter of Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, after Willow asks: “Who are the African queens and why don’t we know about them?”

Watson said African Queens “go some way towards answering this question”.

“I don’t think modern TV has scratched the surface of these stories,” he added. “You have to ask yourself why we don’t know as much about Queen Nzinga as, say, Queen Elizabeth I.”

Notably, Netflix decided to open the first season with Njinga’s story before moving to the much more familiar ruler Cleopatra in the second season, while Nutopia is busy researching future seasons, should they be greenlit.

“Cleopatra obviously started but Nzinga is revered by Angolans and yet you don’t know his name,” added Watson. “It made him feel like a really good candidate.”

Watson praised Pinkett Smith’s contribution, noting her passion for the subject and how her narrative would appeal to audiences.

Nzinga was the first female ruler of Ndongo and Matamba (modern Angola) and gained a reputation for blending political and diplomatic skills with military prowess.

Telling her story through the docudrama involved a lot of plate-spinning, Watson said. The Last Jars Producer Nutopia aimed to be as realistic as possible while ramping up the drama comprising 80% of the show.

Dr. Pinkett Smith before African Queens “Each woman will stick to the historical facts” and Linda Haywood, who wrote the season based on the book, served as an adviser.

Watson said: “There are accounts of Nzinga eating people’s hearts out of their chests or having 100 concubines but you have to take them with a pinch of salt.”

Shot in South Africa, the drama material involved a cast of hundreds of extras and, in keeping with the show’s modus operandi, put diversity behind the camera at heart.

“I’ve never been to Cape Town and yet my first experience on set was seeing all these black and brown young men doing all sorts of things,” Watson added. “I was very surprised. South Africans have tried to change the face of African manufacturing in the last five to ten years through training schemes and courses and you can see that.”

Watson, a former BBC commissioner whose past credits include Who do you think you are?, throw down the great pottery And A house through time, Contrasted with the situation in the UK, where he “still feels there is a reluctance” to promote diverse candidates to roles such as EP.

“I still feel we have a long way to go until we achieve that level of representation,” he added.

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