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Willow Smith announces the new release date of her first book “Black Shields Maiden”

The book was supposed to be released in 2022

Willow Smith has an exciting new adventure on the horizon. The daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith has already had a successful music career, and now she’s adding “author” to her resume. For the past six years, Willow has been working on her debut book, “Black Shields Maiden,” in collaboration with her friend and co-author, Jess Hendel, and the new release date is finally here.

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On Tuesday, Willow shared a video announcing the book will come out May 7. “Black Shield Maiden” is my love letter to all the powerful and beautiful stories that have been lost in time,“ she says with a picture of the cover.

The cover of the book is blue with yellow text. On the bottom is a person’s face with an afro. According to the website, the book is a “powerful and groundbreaking historical epic about an African warrior in the world of the Viking.”

Why was the release date pushed back?

Willow announced the book back in February 2022, saying it would drop that same year on October 4. “I’ve been working on this historical fiction for over 4 years & I couldn’t be more excited to see what aspects of the story will incite more catharsis for you all,” she wrote on social media at the time.

After a preview was released, she faced criticism online for her portrayal of Muslims and Amazighs. The book did not see its October 4th release, and it’s unclear if the criticism led to rewrites- thus pushing the date nearly two years.

What is the book about?

According to the website, the book tells a lost story of the Vikings, “one that has been lost to the mists of time: the saga of the dark queen.” It begins with Yafeu, a young warrior, who is stolen from her home in the Ghānaian empire and taken as a slave to a distant kingdom in the North.

In a cold world of “savage shield maidens, tyrannical rulers, and mysterious god” she finds a kindred spirit when she comes to serve Freydis, a shy princess.

With a desire to forge their own fate, the confident Yafeu inspires Freydis to dream beyond her predetermined roles set by the king and queen. With the princess, Yafeu navigates this new world determined to become a legendary shield maiden. With a revolutionary, heroine spirit, she alters the course of history with her fearless spirit.

Following the Black Shields Maiden’s release, the authors will go on a North American Book Tour in May.

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