Kemi Adetiba’s King Women series is a must watch. Click here if you missed the first episode. In a new interview with Accelerate TV, the filmmaker talks about her inspiration and goal behind the series.
See excerpts from her interview below.
On her inspiration for the series: A lot of people ask me the question, ‘why the name King Women?’ I have had people ask me, are you trying to say that queens are not as strong and important as kings?’ And that’s not the case at all. Now let me tell you a story. When I was about 13 years old, I remember I was in my mom’s room watching her put on her makeup. Her younger brother, the youngest of the family had just come back from The States and he was there just teasing her, like brothers and sisters do. He was poking her in the ribs and he kept on going ‘Obong Awan, Obong Awan’ and my mom would go, ‘Peter stop it oh, Peter leave me alone oh’. It was like a fun thing. And then I remember he turned to me and said ‘Do you know what ‘Obong Awan’ means?’ and I said ‘no I don’t’ and he goes, ‘They are trying to give your Mom a title called Obong Awan but she doesn’t want to take it’. And he says, ‘the direct translation of Obong Awan means “King Woman”. That term stuck in my head for so many years. My mother is the perfect embodiment of what King Women means to me and she is actually the inspiration behind this series.
On the series: One of the reasons why I thought it was imperative for me to do the King Women series is that I feel like there were a lot of girls that need direction. There are a lot of girls that feel life happens to them and they don’t know the next step to take, a lot of girls that do not see a way out of their circumstance. I wanted to bring what I have learnt, somewhat from my mother, to them because I had the benefit of living with my mother, living in the same house, learning at her feet but I do realise that not a lot of girls have the opportunity of having strong female mentors and that is the reason why this series was very important to showcase. So I brought together thirteen amazing, inspirational women just to show these young girls that no matter what life throws at you, you can always beat it and overcome.
On producing the series: What is so weird is, they were such amazing interviews and I just kept telling myself, I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe I am getting these all on camera and nothing has gone wrong. Oh My God, thank you for this experience’. I remember I went home and we were backing up the footage and we turned on the sound equipment to back it up and we saw all the files that we recorded for sound but when we clicked on it, nothing was there. The entire sound files had gone corrupt on us, nothing we could have done. It was just a glitch of the machinery. I remember I cried and cried and cried. I was like ‘are you trying to tell me that this amazing experience that I had with this amazing woman (Taiwo Ajai-Lycett), the rest of the world cannot hear it?’ I couldn’t go back and ask her to do the interview again. So many of the things I captured cannot be redone. You can’t recreate those moments. I remember I went to an uncle of mine, Dr B and we were showing him the sound files and he was like ‘Kemi these are lost’. He’s an amazing sound technician and he was telling me this- one of the best in the country. I kept clicking the video file, asking how I had lost all these and he says “is that the sound coming from the camera?” and I said yes and he goes “you haven’t lost it yet. Give me this particular sound and I will clean it up. It won’t be as great as the other one you shot but I promise you, it will be just perfect”. I was just so elated that I was still going to be able to share this amazing moment with the world.