Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong'o

Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong'o


Hollywood actor Lupita Nyong’o, who starred as a warrior princess in the film Black Panther, visits Benin in West Africa to search for the truth about an army of women who fought for the rulers of the Dahomey kingdom: the Agoji.

What Nyong’o learns isn’t always comfortable but it makes for a fascinating slice of African history. The Agoji were used as shock troops by the kings of Dahomey and fancifully labelled Amazons by western visitors. They were a conscript army: press gangs enrolled rural women who didn’t want to marry or whose husbands accused them of adultery. And they were used to abduct captives for the Atlantic slave trade.

The remaining evidence is thin on the ground, but Nyong’o meets experts and descendants. “Any notion of the Agoji being a beacon of enlightened feminism… has long gone,” she sighs. In one extraordinary scene she meets a woman who trained as an Agoji but who seems strangely silent… until she erupts in a startling war cry.


Oscar-winning actress, author and producer Lupita Nyong'o uncovers the truth behind the women who inspired the Dora Milaje in Marvel film Black Panther. Travelling to Benin in West Africa, Lupita reveals the stories of the real-life warrior women who fought African and European powers alike from the 17th to the 19th centuries in the Kingdom of Dahomey, centred in the modern-day country of Benin.

Cast & Crew

Director Anna Cox
Executive Producer Lucy Pilkington