The trailer of this movie suggests the making of the almost myth of Queen Amina’s life into a movie.
The movie begins and I already have a problem with costume design. I observed a lot of costume errors in this movie that a quick google search or possibly asking Ali Nuhu, the only known person from Northern Nigerian, could have solved.
Let us begin with Amina’s father’s turban; it is made of light chiffon material and it is checkered. Hausa Kings (Emirs) wear turbans made out of plain, thick material.
There are also certain inconsistencies with the storyline of the movie in relation to the legend.
The fact that it was Amina’s father who discovered she was a proficient swordswoman in the movie and not her grandmother like the legend reports.The existence of a potential lover in the movie is also inconsistent with the legend, Queen Amina never had a lover longer than a night. She killed them before morning. Speculation about her death was that she didn’t behead a lover and she ran mad and committed suicide.
Then we can talk about the underrepresentation of Arewa women in mass media.
A movie was made about a Hausa woman with no Hausa women in the cast. This is a classic example of the lack of inclusion of northern women in Nigeria’s mainstream media.
I’d like to think that if a movie about a Hausa warrior queen was to be made a Hausa woman would play her role or any role at all on the cast. It could be argued that there might be no Hausa actresses talented enough to play the role, but Sons of the Caliphate shows that there are many talented actresses who can play the role. Not ignoring the potential opportunities for young arewa thespians if they were casted as young Amina and any other child characters in the movie.
If done right, this movie would have told of the strength, beauty, and power of Arewa women. The movie would have possibly changed a lot of stereotypes associated with Arewa women
The movie was also an avenue for people to understand a little bit of Hausa culture and watch how the story of one woman changed it completely. Sadly, none of it is reflected in the movie. The movie’s great production and very impressive stunts are admirable, but every time the word “Zazzau” is mispronounced, viewers especially Northern Nigerian viewers are robbed of the chance to showcase what rich culture the Emirate has.
Representation is important in a country like Nigeria, where the South and North have experienced ethnic tensions for so long. There is a need for Arewa women to be represented in mainstream media because stories and movies create empathy and if done right, can break stereotypes.
The typical Nigerian knows very little about the North except for insurgency and Islamic extremism. The culture, norms and ways of life of the people are alien because our stories aren’t projected in mainstream media as much as stories of southern people. In areas where people choose to tell their own stories, there has to be a mainstream consumption of it and promotion by major streaming outlets.
The story of a warrior queen might have been enough to capture the attention of viewers and possibly change the narrative of Arewa women, as poor, uneducated collateral damage of insurgents. Perhaps if people could look at a Hausa woman playing the role of a ruthless Hausa queen; we could see a shift in the way Arewa women have been known.