Examples of the #BoycottWomanKing social media campaign from users boycotting the Woman King movie.

#BoycottWomanKing / Boycott 'Woman King'

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Updated Sep 19, 2022 at 01:07PM EDT by Zach.

Added Sep 17, 2022 at 02:51PM EDT by Brandon.

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#BoycottWomanKing is a trending hashtag and social movement surrounding the 2022 movie The Woman King, starring Viola Davis. The film, which follows the exploits of the Agojie (a female warrior unit that was part of the Kingdom of Dahomey), with the particular time period being the 1820s. Calls to boycott the film by many online emerged leading up to its release on September 16th, 2022, primarily by those who rallied against the historical context of the Dahomey, who were one of the key figures and perpetrators of the Atlantic Slave Trade at the time of the film's setting.


The first known example of the hashtag "#BoycottWomanKing" being used online comes from a September 5th, 2022, reply to a trailer for the movie from The Woman King official Twitter account by user @ibebeing, which received just one retweet.[5] Over the following weeks, the hashtag and movement against the film continued to grow leading up to the film's release.

As the boycott slowly grew online in early September 2022, the hashtag also came under scrutiny by some, with several people tweeting their support of the movie and pushing back on the boycott campaign, with a large part of the defense coming from the racial undertones of the movie. This sentiment was then echoed by the lead Viola Davis in an interview on September 9th. At the red carpet premiere for the movie, Davis was quoted saying that people who "don't come see it, then, you're sending a message that Black woman can't lead a box office globally, and that you are supporting that narrative," which was uploaded to YouTube by the Etalk[2] channel (shown below).


On September 16th, 2022, the YouTuber ToneTalks[1] tweeted part of a livestream he did about the movie to Twitter talking about the history of perpetuating the slave trade that the Dahomey were part of and asked for a boycott to take place (shown below). The tweet accumulated over 300 likes in three days as word of the growing backlash spread online.

The earlier sentiment from Viola Davis and others online continued to be seen in the tweets supporting the film and pushing back against the boycott, with a notable example tweeted on September 16th, 2022, by Twitter user @ChristaTRomance,[3] who tweeted that she "didn't trust hashtags that try to get Black women movies to fail" and that Viola would "get her movie dollars," before calling out "bots and ops," earning more than 5,500 likes in one day (shown below).

Christa Tomlinson Blood Kiss is now available! @ChristaTRomance I'm not trusting any hashtag that tries to get a Black women led movie to fail. I'll see it for myself and if it's bad or spins history in a negative way so be it. But Viola & John are going to get my movie dollars. Suck on that, bots & ops. #BoycottWomanKing 6:46 PM - Sep 16, 2022 - Twitter Web App 719 Retweets 85 Quote Tweets 5,589 Likes

On the other side, a narrative that began to be pushed in support of the boycott had to do with the writing credits in the movie. Amid this sentiment, many detractors of the film argued that for being a movie about a Black female warrior group, the writers being comprised of two non-Black females (which created its own amount of controversy online with people pointing to that as a reason to not go see the movie) was perceived by some as hero worship of African slave traders being sold to Blacks while being made by Whites. For example, on September 16th, this sentiment was tweeted by Twitter user @EqualityEd,[4] receiving over 1,800 likes and 440 retweets in three days (shown below).

Edward @EqualityEd < Let's be honest folk. It's movie about a African tribe famous for selling slaves to Europeans that was made into a female empowerment story by two White women writers. You don't have to be very "woke" to see the problem here. #BoycottWomanKing Writing credits The Woman King (2022) 2 People Sorted by Credit Order Dana Stevens screenplay by / story by Maria Bello story by ... *** |I₁

Various Examples

HarrietEve9 @Harriet Eve9 Hollywood has played in the face of descendants of slaves for far too long. Now they are glorifying African slave traders with #TheWomanKing and showcasing their blacks in blackface. #BoycottWomanKing VANIE "My entire life has been a protest." VIOLA DAVIS THE HOLLYWOOD ICON ON SPEAKING TRUTH to POWER 7:18 PM - Sep 16, 2022. Twitter for iPhone SERIA ATALA M SHOE FALWEER KI Antonio Moore @tonetalks My article @eurweb 2018. Full piece above. "My own ancestry shows over 30 percent origin from Benin, a country, which recently apologized for their role in "selling fellow Africans by the millions to white slave traders"" - #womanking And you ask why I started #BoycottWomanKing? #womanking ⠀ WE ARE DAHOMEY! GIF ALT 12:28 PM - Sep 17, 2022. Twitter Web App #TheWomanKing Daniel Hennessy @DK_Hennessy *Sees #BoycottWomanKing trending.* *Sees why it's trending* Me: "No way." *Does research* [20 minutes later] Me: Well, can't see this movie now. 12 Year's A Slave was one thing, but 12 Year's A Slave Trader? Nope. 5:50 PM - Sep 16, 2022. Twitter for Android Progress (ive)ing to Insanity @BrokeHrtLiberal "The Woman King" fans looking up the history of the Dahomey kingdom 0:02 233.4K views 6:27 AM - Sep 13, 2022 Twitter for Android ... Nas @nasescobar316 On one hand this actress says #TheWoman King is historical, it's real but when promoting this movie they never discuss the REAL history that the Dahomey were African Slave Traders. This movie does not sit right with my soul. #BoycottWomanKing @nasescobar3 16 0:01 88.3K views VARIETYSTUDIO VARIETY 4:24 PM - Sep 16, 2022. Twitter for iPhone th Tariq Nasheed @tariqnasheed The rulers of Dahomey performed magic rituals against the other Black ppl they enslaved, by making them walk around "The Tree of Forgetfulness". This was supposed to erase their ancestral memories so their spirits would not return back to Dahomey to seek revenge #BoycottWomanKing The Tree of Forgetfulness se kings of Dahomey, a kingdom in West Africa, sold thousands of fricans to slave traders. The kings made the slaves walk in circles aroun e Tree of Forgetfulness" so that their spirits wouldn't remember the rrible things they suffered and come back to curse the kings ⠀ etfulness the ships, the slaves would be made to walk ar etfulness'. The tree is no longer there, but the k around the tree seven times and men nine tir ture, their history, and become a blank canvas 7:04 PM - Sep 16, 2022- Twitter Web App

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – ToneTalks

[2] YouTube – Viola Red Carpet

[3] Twitter – Film Defense

[4] Twitter – Boycott Defense

[5] Twitter – ibebeing

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Top Comments

pinkiespy - goat spy
pinkiespy - goat spy

With what little I know about African history compared to what pop culture likes to push out, why not fucking lean into the complexity instead of aiming for affirmation? It's narrative gold and the complexity gets people to actually realize that Africa has… history.

Go fucking nuts. Show the people use the weapon for slave trade to forge empires. The history of Liberia is a weird ball of lost potential. Timbuktu is fucking IRL game of thrones.


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