Cynthia Erivo will star in and produce a film on Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the Egbado princess of the Yoruba people that was “gifted” to Queen Victoria after she was orphaned and enslaved by the king of Dahomey. She was sent to Britain and Queen Victoria made her one of her goddaughters and called her Sally. The film is from the BBC.
More information on Bonetta via Deadline‘s exclusive report about the film;
Born Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, Aina was ‘gifted’ to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England, and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen’s patronship was a thorny rose that put Sarah at the centre of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering, or the dangers of a capricious court which was fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman.
Per the report, “The filmmakers are planning for the biopic to be a celebration of Bonetta as a strategic, determined heroine who found a way to embrace her Blackness, her Africanness and to ultimately find love: forging a path for herself that honoured both her heritage and her upbringing.”
Erivo said in a statement, “I am excited to embark on this journey. 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. Miss 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.”