American Gods star Yetide Badaki will play the lead in Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s upcoming Starz TV show, Queen Nzinga.
Badaki will also serve as an executive producer for the new series alongside Jackson, Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight and Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu, the founder and CEO of EbonyLife.
While the team is still on the hunt for a showrunner, Deadline reports that Lionsgate Television will produce the series.
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Taking place in 17th century Angola, Queen Nzinga will follow the royal African warrior’s “transformation from an innocent princess into a fearless warrior queen who rages a ferocious 40-year guerrilla war against the kingdom’s formidable enemies, and the cruel subjugation of her people by Portuguese slavers,” Deadline detailed.
“Thrust into a kingdom ravaged by slavery, ferocious tribal wars and ruthless male power struggles, Nzinga’s journey is thwarted with danger at every turn,” the outlet added. “She faces a brutal family blood-bath, ferocious battles intertwined with deceptive truces, hair-raising escapes, and depraved enemies. With every part of her that she sheds or is stolen from her, she moves one step closer to realizing her dream of freedom and peace for her people.”
According to Badaki, it’s been a dream come true to play the role of Nzinga, a historic and strong Black female ruler that’s finally getting her story told in a major way.
“It has been a long-held dream of mine to bring the story of Nzinga to the screen. Her courage, determination and passion resonated from the moment I laid eyes on historical depictions of the legendary queen,” Badaki said in a statement. “I am thrilled by Starz’ continued commitment to much needed stories about and by historically excluded voices and the deeply talented team being built to share this epic narrative with the world.”
Abudu added, “The continent of Africa has a treasure trove of stories that are yet to be told. Queen Nzinga is a story that I have wanted to tell for a long time, so when EbonyLife Studios finally found a home for this project at Starz and Lionsgate, it was a dream come true. We are happy to be at the forefront of forging these new partnerships with such an incredible team of creatives, because it is truly about sharing our local stories with a global audience – stories that are historical, authentic and progressive.”
Jackson’s made several posts on social media celebrating Queen Nzinga‘s progress thus far and Badaki’s casting in the lead role.
In a statement, the rapper turned entertainment industry mogul expressed: “As G-Unit Film & Television launches more premium, international productions, I couldn’t have found better partners than Mo, Yetide and Steven to help tell the incredible story of Queen Nzinga.”