Diaspora: Netflix Gives a 2-Season Order for ‘African Queens’ Docuseries from Jada Pinkett Smith
The docuseries will explore the lives of Cleopatra and Njinga as its first subjects.
Netflix has ordered two seasons of hybrid docuseries based on ‘African Queens’ from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Nutopia, with Pinkett Smith serving as executive producer on the project.
The untitled docuseries will focus on a different queen each season. Cleopatra will be the subject of the first season and Njinga for the second. The series will blend expert interviews and other documentary content with premium scripted docudrama/re-enactments. The series is written by Peres Owino (Bound: Africans vs African-Americans) and NneNne Iwuji (Yellow).
Pinkett Smith said of the series, “as the mother of a young Black woman, it is immensely important to me that she learns the lessons of the African Queens who paved the way for our success and the success of generations of Black women. I am very passionate and excited about bringing the stories and lessons of these powerful women to light in order to showcase their strength, leadership, and undeniable influence on history.”
In the first season, the life of Cleopatra, the world’s most famous, powerful, and misunderstood woman, will be explored. Regarded as a daring queen whose beauty and romances came to overshadow her real asset: her intellect. Her heritage has been the subject of much academic debate, and the series will re-assess that part of her story, engaging in the ongoing discussion.
The second season will feature Njinga, the complex, captivating, and fearless 17th-century warrior queen of Matamba and Ndongo, in modern-day Angola. Njinga was the nation’s first female ruler, and she earned a reputation for her blend of political and diplomatic skill with military prowess and became an icon of resistance.
The docuseries is a co-production between Westbrook Studios and Nutopia. Pinkett Smith, Miguel Melendez, Terence Carter, Sahara Bushue and David Boorstein are executive producers for Westbrook Studios. Jane Root and Ben Goold will executive produce for Nutopia.