Jada Pinkett Smith is set to executive produce a Netflix docuseries about historic African queens. Netflix has ordered two seasons of the show, which will be written by Peres Owino and NneNne Iwuji. The untitled series will focus on a different queen each season — starting with Cleopatra in season one and Njinga in season two.
Co-written by NneNne Iwuji and Peres Owino, the currently untitled Netflix series will focus on one queen each season: beginning with Cleopatra in season 1. The second season will highlight Njinga, and both will contain interviews from field experts and premium content with scripted re-enactments.
Jada Pinkett Smith will executive produce a doc series about history’s most iconic African queens.
Season 1 will cover Cleopatra — one of history's most powerful yet misunderstood women. Season 2 will cover Njinga, the fearless 17th century warrior queen of Matamba and Ndongo. pic.twitter.com/TYVId5hfAA
— Netflix (@netflix) August 26, 2021
Cleopatra’s season will cover the life of the Egyptian queen whose beauty and romantic endeavor came to overshadow her uncredited intellectual prowess. Cleopatra’s heritage has been the subject of much academic debate, which has often been historically ignored by Hollywood. The series will reevaluate those parts of her life, possibly changing the narrative.
The last active ruler of the Ptolemiac Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra has been portrayed by white American and European as well as Middle Eastern actresses. She was believed to have had Greek and possibly Persian ancestry but there have been theories that have stated otherwise.
The second season features Njinga, the fearless 17th-century warrior queen of Matamba and Ndongo, which is now Angola. The nation’s first female ruler, she earned a reputation for her balance of political, diplomatic, and military-minded leadership. For many present-day followers, she has become known for resistance and perseverance.
“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,” Pinkett Smith told Deadline. “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.”
While still unclear when the docuseries will air, Pinkett Smith, Miguel Melendez, Terence Carter, Sahara Bushue and David Boorstein will executive produce the project for Westbrook Studios, along with Jane Root and Ben Goold for Nutopia.
Pinkett Smith recently wrapped up production for The Matrix 4. She will also reprise her role of Niobe in the film, which will be released worldwide on Dec. 22. The movie’s trailer was revealed earlier this week at CinemaCon. Pinkett Smith is also the host and executive producer of “Red Table Talk,” which has become Facebook’s number one show.