It took Disney until 2009 to make a movie about a Black princess, but history is full of notable women of royal African ancestry or marriage who left a mark on society. They just aren’t as well-known as they should be. Take Nigerian princess Omo-Oba Adenrele Ademola of Abeokuta.
Princess of Nigeria! Princess of nursing! There’s so much to love about Ademola, but her achievements as a healthcare worker especially resonate in 2020. She was the daughter of Alake of Abeokuta, a king of southern Nigeria, which meant that she had to juggle her role as princess abroad –and nursing school student – when she moved to London at 22-years-old.
She became a significant figure in nursing at at St Saviour’s ward at Guy’s Hospital in London and “a glowing role model for the empire”. The British government commissioned a documentary film on her entitled ‘Nurse Ademola’ in the 1940s, but the footage is now considered as a lost film. Throughout their research, The National Archives notes that “five variations of her name have been encountered, even on official records, confusing her presence in the archives, possibly even with others who shared her surname. Such challenges are rife when examining black populations and represent a larger issue: the failure to consider black people/black histories a priority. Contemporarily, the lives of black people were considered ‘second-class’ and therefore detail and accuracy in records were deemed unnecessary”. The research continues.
Messy Messy Chic introduces us to eight Black princesses with fascinating stories, including an American who lived the story of Coming to America.
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