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Cynthia Erivo Produces, Stars in New Film About African Princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta

Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, was orphaned and enslaved by a West African king.

Cynthia Erivo Produces, Stars in New Film About African Princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta

Broadway star Cynthia Erivo will star in an upcoming film about 19th century African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, was orphaned and enslaved by a West African king, then was "gifted" to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen's patronage put the princess at the center of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering, or the dangers of a court which was fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman, according to Variety.

"I am excited to embark on this journey," said Cynthia Erivo. "It has taken a long time to get to a point where we can even begin to realize this dream. As a Nigerian British woman, to get the opportunity to tell the story of another Nigerian British woman who until now has been erased from the history books, is an honor. Ms. Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Omoba Aina, is truly a passion of mine and I'm so pleased to have been able to find partners in the incredible women, Leah Clarke and Rienkje Attoh, to tell the story and finally give her a voice. I cannot wait to dive into her story. She is indeed the forgotten princess, forgotten no more."

Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as 'Celie' in the critically acclaimed revival of "The Color Purple." She first played the role in 2013 at London's Menier Chocolate Factory and her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, a Grammy award as a principal soloist on original cast recording of "The Color Purple" (Best Musical Theater Album), a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the Drama Desk Award, Theatre World, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Additional theatre credits include: 'Puck' in the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream;" The Donmar Warehouse's acclaimed all-female production of "Henry IV;" the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, "Dessa Rose;" the Perfect Pitch musical, "Lift;" Kneehigh Theatre's production of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg;" the UK tour of Jerry Zaks' production of "Sister Act;" Harry Hill and Simon Cowell's musical, "I Can't Sing," at the London Palladium; Simon Stephens' "Marine Parade;" John Adams' experimental song play, "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky;" and Dominic Hill's "The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain."


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