Women’s Empowerment: Z Nation


Lance The (OMG!) Obscure Movie Guy

When thinking of Women’s Empowerment, one would not usually land on a tv show
centralized on a Zombie Apocalypse. Some would say it’s obscure. Which for me, Lance The OMG, is the norm. But beyond all the zombies, cannibals, sadists, wannabe dictators, thieves, and murderers, you do find more often than not, women taking the reins of not only their own destiny, but the people around them as well.

This can be seen in The Walking Dead with the character, Carol Peletier who was nothing more than a meek housewife in the beginning of the series. But she overcame an abusive husband and the loss of her young daughter to become a skilled and resourceful survivalist of the Zombie Apocalypse.

We also see this in the same show with the character of Maggie Greene. Originally a lonely farmer’s daughter, she becomes proficient in survival techniques, and weapons training. She gets married and becomes the leader of The Hilltop Colony after overthrowing their former corrupt leader, Gregory.

While both characters are prime examples of women’s empowerment and overcame many obstacles to get where they are, I found my own character to adore in the likes of another female, in a different Zombie Apocalypse Show. The character of Roberta Warren went through hell multiple times during her tenure on the show Z Nation.

Even before the Zombie Apocalypse had ever started, she had already survived a Sharknado Attack. While it sounds silly that a character that was in Sharknado 3, Oh Hell No, and Z Nation, could be taken seriously, it should be noted that the character is a very serious one.

A Character Bio reads that Warren was a Sgt. stationed in Charleston SC at the Charleston Air Force Base when it was hit by a Sharknado. When we first see Warren in Z Nation it is explained that she is now a Lt. activated out of the Missouri National Guard.

It’s not stated whether her character is supposed to be canon between the movie and the show, both done by The Asylum, or if it’s just a nice easter egg for the viewers, but it does show that she went from active military to inactive, to National Guard and was given a promotion.

Warren teams up with Sgt. Garnett (Thomas Everett Scott) who is based out of Georgia, and they are tasked with transporting a man named Murphy, cross country to a government laboratory. It’s believed Murphy’s blood holds the key for a cure against the ZN1 zombie virus.

Despite her higher rank as a Lt. over Garnett she follows Garnett’s lead. It isn’t until his untimely demise that Warren steps up to take over the small group of survivors to fulfill Garnett’s mission of transporting Murphy. It’s here when we really get to see Warren step up and become much more than just a leader.

She can be the strong silent type, the aggressor, a mentor, a guardian, a friend. She works amazingly under pressure, calculated in her decision making. She can be diplomatic when she needs to be, or she can be a war-torn hero with a total disregard for her own personal well-being.

She is willing to do what needs to be done but never at the expense of others. Truly a selfless leader. It should be said that it’s easy to be sarcastic about Warren given that the show never took itself too seriously. But I reiterate, the character in and of itself is a serious character. Played by a serious lady.

Lt. Warren was portrayed by actress Kellita Smith. A former model and theater actress.
She studied at Santa Rosa Junior College where she earned an Associate degree in political science. In 1996 she won an NAACP Theater Award for best supporting actress in The Hudson Theatre Production of Feelings.

Between 2001-2006 she would be nominated 4 times for the NAACP Image Award for playing Wanda McCullough on The Bernie Mac show, where she played the fictional wife of the titular character. She would be nominated for the Image Award again in 2013 for playing First Lady Katherine Johnson on the syndicated sitcom The First Family.

Smith is also the first black woman to star in a sci-fi series for the SyFy Network. There’s no shortage of accolades for Kellita Smith and no shortage of fanfare as well. I see a lot of Kellita in the character of Roberta Warren from Z nation. Smith, much like Warren, has won the hearts and appreciation of her peers. Warren earned the respect of her enemies. I imagine Smith earned the respects of the critics and naysayers alike.

And though there is a vast difference in the lifestyles between Smith and Warren, you don’t have to look too hard to see the parallels of where the character/actress begin and end. If I ever find myself in a dystopian future much like what Z Nation was, I’ll be looking for a Roberta Warren to keep me alive.

Contributing Writer: Lance the Obscure Movie Guy

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