Preamble: This is the 3rd alternative royal women post in my #womencrushWednesday #wcw series…just giving Hollywood some ideas. She follows Royal #2, Nora Baker. To see all the royal women, search ‘she’s royal’ (or some variation of that) to the right.
She’s Royal #3:
Her story: I have to admit watching Neil Gaiman’s American Gods rekindled my interest in the Queen of Sheba, whom I hadn’t thought about since Bible school days. Specifically, the goddess Bilquis who is meant to be the Queen of Sheba, the self-same one from the Judeo-Christian Bible where she meets with King Solomon – arriving with a great caravan and many riches – drawn by his reputed greatness. She tests him and he impresses her. “Your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard,” she reportedly said (1 Kings 10:7). Not much to go on, but movies have been built from less. And researchers have dug up more; a key source being Ethiopian scripture. That’s her land (disputed, as Arabian texts peg her as a Yemeni queen) – Ethiopia; her name is Makeda, she lived between the latter half of the 11th century and approximately 955 BCE, and her lasting gift from her time with Solomon was her son Ebna Hakim (according to sources). There is more re his journey to Israel and speculation that the Ark of the Covenant traveled back to the land of Sheba with him. On his return, his mother gave up the crown to him and he ascended as Menilek l. But I’m more interested in the story of this connection between his parents (there’s some suggestion that there was coercion in the seduction so I hesitate to call it a grand love story though it is reputed that the Song of Solomon testify to that love). There’s more to her story, of course; and versions of that story have been told including on film several times. One purpose of re-imagining her on film could be reframing the narrative. “European authors and artists extend these subordinating narratives that show Solomon as not only the political superior of the Queen of Sheba, but also her spiritual senior and initiator. But now they add a racial distortion, whitening her … We’re now at a moment where women of African descent are re-envisioning who the Queen of Sheba may have really been, beyond the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptural traditions, within her original cultural context.” (source)
Possible casting: Viola Davis…or, swinging wildly in another direction, Solange Knowles…or Queen Sugar’s Rutina Wesley.
Next up: ‘God speaks true’.