Why My Viewing Experience Is Ruined When It Comes To Netflix’s “The Crown”
Blame it on colonial aftershock
When Season one of The Crown made landfall in the winter of 2016 — it was heralded with much fanfare as critics praised its high-level authenticity — and fans gushed about the supremeness of the British monarchy that until now — remained pretty much bolted behind the esteemed fortress of mystery and fascination.
The historical drama features English actress Claire Foy as the young and stately Queen Elizabeth II — a role that will be carried over to Olivia Coleman (Broadchurch)— who is poised to embody the later years of the Queen after Season two. Matt Smith plays Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh — Elizabeth’s husband.
As a Nigerian who was born in the States and raised in Lagos — the former capital of the most populous country in the continent — I was privy to the vast history of Nigeria — through intense history lessons in high school. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken on a whirlwind tour of the past — and my interest peaked when the colonial years were examined with unbiased scrutiny.
For those of us who missed the British invasion — literature and the sprawling relics bearing labels of prominent colonial administrators embedded with nostalgic sovereignty — serve as evidence of an era that reduced colonies into money-making landscapes — that were divided and conquered for the ceremony and long-term fulfillment of the British empire.
National and global treasure — Chinua Achebe produced such gems like Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God — all three novels are connected by the fibers of prideful resistance — stemming from the defiance of the Igbo people in Eastern Nigeria — who were the only ones to relentlessly stand their ground against the greedy infiltration of missionaries in their midst.
Achebe’s protagonists shared the task of accommodating the life-altering consequences of British influence both during and after the colonial era. The vivid exploration of the damning of native tendencies along with the inevitable clashes between Western and traditional values — is an enduring tribute to how hard my tribal ancestors fought — to maintain our primal dignity.
Fast forward to the present and the residue of that time still breezes in through the dusty vents of a legacy that drastically reduced the chances of Nigeria or any of the other former territories — from making a full recovery.
The British basically created a map of riches when they set out on the mission to convert the abolishment of slave trade into an economic booster — at the expense of human beings who were threatened with violence by well-equipped troops — sent with the blessings of Her Majesty.
Nigeria may have welcomed their independence on October 1, 1960 — but the scarring of a nation for the commercial interests of White people who truly believed their intervention was a holy scheme — ordained by God and righteously implemented for the betterment of civilization — still permeates with bitterness through the oil-soaked gutters of the Niger Delta.
The criminal intent of the British invasion is the sole reason why tribal wars, fractured government agencies and the climate of destructive patriotism — continues to prevent any level of progress — in a country that is still being raped of its resources — while its people continue to be punished with lax supply of bare amenities.
Even at this very moment — Nigerian migrants are stuck in Libya — withering away in slave camps without any real hope for assistance until The United Nations comes up with an effective proposal for their freedom.
Yet — the place of their birth is still overflowing with resources that are responsible for the steady supply of comfort — which many of you enjoy in the parts of the world that have historically benefitted from the wealth that is stolen without guilt or consideration for the primary owners.
The British monarchy is popular again — due to the entertainment value of TV shows and of course the appeal of the younger generation of royals — who have proven to be savvy enough to unleash enough charisma for warranted attention. The upcoming royal wedding is both timely and impressive — and will undoubtedly be one of the most notable affairs of the year.
But for me — the crown jewels are glistening with the blood and sweat of those who fought and lost in the name of gods and the country they tried to protect — against all odds. The Queen and her expanding dynasty are all guilty of murder and mayhem — and the souls of their slaughter have provided a livelihood that’s not bedazzled enough to crust out the truth.
This is why I’m unable to partake in the scenes of The Crown without systematically cursing the ornaments and the majestic backdrop. The Queen in her gloriousness — aided by the commanding accent — as she feigns innocence with the authority of The Church of England — is a sickening sight that I refuse to tolerate.
Blame it on getting older — being too “woke” for my own good or the unexpected pangs of colonial aftershock — whatever is guiding me towards the platter of enlightenment — is also directing my spirit into the opening of an ancestral choir — that never stopped chiming for the chains to be permanently broken.
I was there and now I will conquer.