Lupita Nyong’o From ‘Black Panther’ Describes The Real-Life Women Who Inspired The Dora Milaje

Black Panther is a phenomenal movie. That includes Lupita Nyong’o and her performance as Nakia. Though she does not fight as a member of the Dora Milaje, she serves Wakanda in other ways. She has a vision of how Wakanda could help other places and in the end, helps T’challa execute that vision.

She also serves her country by working as a kind of spy. Nakia is very brave, intelligent, and determined. It’s easy to see why T’challa likes her so much. The actress who portrays her, Lupita Nyong’o, seems to be just as easy to like.

She visited Benin, West Africa and talked about her trip in a new documentary. Part of what she found there was more information about a group of warrior women called the Agoji, who were around from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

Who are the Dora Milaje in ‘Black Panther’ according to Lupita Nyong’o?

The Dora Milaje are the protectors of Wakanda. They make sure the king and the rest of the people are safe. They’re an elite force made up entirely of women. Their leader is named Okoye, and she is portrayed beautifully by Danai Gurira.

But what does Lupita Nyong’o think of Black Panther‘s powerful warriors? According to the actress, the female warriors became a “beacon of feminism and femininity.” They most likely inspired and empowered many female Marvel fans, and likely the actresses who portrayed them felt similarly empowered.

Though Nyong’o herself did not portray a member of the Dora Milaje, she could still understand the appeal of the characters. She knew exactly what they stood for and understood them completely.

Lupita Nyong'o of Black Panther with Chadwick Boseman
Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Chadwick Boseman | Shahar Azran/WireImage

Who were the women to inspire the Dora Milaje?

They were known as the Agoji. These women existed during the 17th to 19th centuries. Nyong’o describes them as “valiant fighters who didn’t ascribe to cultural norms.” She also believes that she “would have been one of their number because [she is] opinionated and willful.”

Nyong’o would fit right in, it seems. These women sound a lot like the Dora Milaje, definitely! A group of “valiant fighters” who don’t care what anyone might think of them and are “opinionated and willful” like Nyong’o describes herself.

Why are these women so inspiring?

Perhaps Nyong’o herself has the answer. According to the actress, “they were doing something out of the ordinary.” These women were truly ahead of their time.

Just as the Dora Milaje inspired many Marvel fans, the story of these women could inspire many people as well. Many people would likely look up to these “valiant fighters” who did what they believed was right despite what the society around them wanted. Hopefully, these women will now be able to inspire many. As Nyong’o herself says, “a history like this should be louder and known around the world.”

It is somewhat surprising that the story of these inspiring women was not already known widely. Yet hopefully that can now be fixed. If not, they will live on through characters like the Dora Milaje, who are equally as inspiring. Marvel fans will certainly never forget the Dora Milaje, and perhaps some will now be inspired to look up the Agoji women.