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It was all about unity, empowerment, and the celebration of Black women at the Defender Network’s State of Black Women (SOBW) exclusive movie premiere of “The Woman King” at the Regal Edwards Greenway Grand Palace on Sept. 15 sponsored by Texas Children’s Hospital. 

The event is the kickoff of the Defender’s SOBW Power of our vote rally on Oct.30.

More than 300 guests attended the highly anticipated film screening starring the Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. Black women and men of all ages and backgrounds were welcomed with the red carpet treatment by Defender Reporter Laura Onyeneho while enjoying a networking reception and music provided by DJ Supastar with the support of event sponsors Texas Children’s Hospital and HillDay Public Relations

“Black people, we have power that is unmatched. We want everyone to tap into that power,” said Defender Managing Editor ReShonda Tate during the film screening introduction. “We will get people to the polls. That is what this is about.”

Defender Managing Editor ReShonda Tate with a guest at the exclusive movie premiere of “The Woman King”

Davis stars as a fictional 19th-Century African General named Nanisca, commander of the Agojie, an all-female army in Dahomey, the West African kingdom (present-day Benin). The Agojie, known for their merciless fighting techniques and physical strength, fight to protect their kingdom against the Oyo, a tribe that captures fellow Africans to be sold as enslaved people. 

“This was a spiritual experience, cultural, very dynamic, [and] historical. My heart is full, said premiere attendee Cheryl Farris-Clayton. “Every woman, [it] doesn’t matter what nationality, needs to see this because it exemplifies feminine strength.” 

The film intricately weaves through several narratives that focus on harsh social expectations of women, slavery, self-discipline, healing from trauma, and the power of an unbreakable sisterhood. 

“I feel empowered, I feel powerful. It was a great movie, said attendee Keasia Daniels. “What the movie did for me…was just reinforce feelings that I already had. Feelings of women power, [and] how women can come together collectively. When we come together with unity, one mission, one purpose… what we can accomplish is limitless.”

Sony Pictures Releasing will release the film in around 3,700 theaters, including IMAX screens, in the United States and Canada on Sept. 16

Follow the Defender Network for more on the exclusive movie premiere.

Photo Gallery by Jimmie Aggison:

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...