If you haven’t heard her name before now, chances are you will soon be on first name terms with Yetide Badaki as she is currently starring in new fantasy series, American Gods, as Bilquis, the Goddess of Love with a very unique party trick!
The series, which premiered on Amazon Prime on 1 May 2017 is about old-world gods interacting with regular people. Yetide’s character plays the ancient Goddess of Love, (aka Queen of Sheba), who craves worship and takes that desire to the extreme when she swallows a man whole through her vagina!
It’s refreshing to see a dark-skinned beauty like Yetide play the part of Bilquis. The actress was born in Oyo state in Nigeria and it feels right that the role of Queen of Sheba is played by someone that looks like her. Present in the Bible as the love interest of Solomon and in the Koran, where she was named as ‘Bilquis’, archaeologists and scientists believe they have traced the precise location of where she lived out her final days and where Queen of Sheba is buried.
Now a US citizen, Yetide recently spoke to The Guardian about the importance of representation in a world where black women are very often side-lined from their own stories. It is heartening to see 36-year-old Badaki cast as the ultimate representation of female desire. She said:
“There’s a real sense of depth and strength in Bilquis. Hers is a very old story – in every culture, there’s some reference to women and creation and power.”
“It’s bringing it right to the forefront of the conversation, so the question becomes well why can’t a black woman be that person, why do people not see us in this way?”
“It really jumped out for a lot of people, this idea of a black goddess of love – and of course it’s completely true to the book. Neil Gaiman wrote it that way.”
The series also stars Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson and Ricky Whittle.
New episodes of American Gods air on Amazon Prime in the UK on Monday.