Black celebrities have been buying out theatres playing “The Woman King” so viewers can experience the film for free, something that the movie’s director says is “incredibly moving” to her.
In the movie, which is loosely based on historical fact, Viola Davis stars as the leader of a band of all-female warriors tasked with protecting the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries.
Some of the celebrities who have reportedly bought out “Woman King” screenings include Octavia Spencer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Lena Waithe, Sanaa Lathan, Kandi Burruss, SZA, Jennifer Hudson, Taraji P. Henson, Boris and Nicole Kodjoe, Gabrielle Union, Tina Knowles-Lawson and Luvvie Ajayi.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of “The Woman King”, issued a statement to share her appreciation of the support that those and other celebs have been giving to her film, which made its debut last month at TIFF.
“Folks are riding for this film and it is incredibly moving because it means people want to share the feeling the film has given them,” she said.
“But more so there is a palpable feeling of so many rooting for the film because it’s success touches all of us,” she added. “When one of us succeeds, it keeps the door open for more of us to disrupt the industry with our original stories.”
Davis has likewise been touched by the response she’s received for the film.
Interviewed by Variety she recalled a white woman who asked her, “Does it surprise you that your story could reach me as a white woman?”
According to Davis, she responded, “No. I know my story can reach you as your story can reach me. The only one it surprises is you.”