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Lelanie Foster

Viola Davis stars in The female king, the story of the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century. The Oscar/Emmy/Tony Award winner plays a general who trains the next generation of warriors.

After being in development for nearly eight years, Davis admits it seemed doubtful the movie would be finished.

“We’re pushed into the business automatically assuming that something won’t happen if it’s never been done before,” Davis said. Essence for the digital cover of the September issue. “There will be no support, no one will want to do it, no studio will give it the green light and who would want to see me like this?”

However, her faith was renewed when one of the producers told her some good news.

Kathy Schulman came up with the script by Dana Stevens and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.'”

After beginning her career on Broadway 34 years ago, Davis is now one of Hollywood’s leading black actresses. However, she is still aware of the ongoing struggle for equality.

“There are no words to describe the journey, the sweat, the blood, the war that is being a black artist and being a black artist,” the 57-year-old star said.

Viola says Hollywood power brokers need to understand how black people have suffered unfairly in film and television.

“When they see the carnage of all the black actors that were there, even during the Sidney Poitier years old, who couldn’t even have an agent, because it was nothing to them. If they see the blood, sweat and tears of what it took…then they’d be on board,” Davis concludes.

The female king hits theaters on Friday, September 16.

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