Netflix’s Cleopatra Doc slammed by Egyptian scholars for blackwashing
Netflix has been accused of “trying to create confusion by spreading false and misleading facts that the Egyptian civilization is of black origin.”
The movie “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” is facing criticism for casting a black biracial actress to play the Greco-Egyptian ruler.
The documentaries shown on May 10 are allegedly “black washed” VII. For the legacy of Queen Cleopatra. Egyptian scholars claim that Cleopatra, who was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 69 BC, was of European descent and not black. Scientists have confirmed that Cleopatra’s father was Macedonian-Greek, XII. on Ptolemy’s side, but his mother’s ethnicity is unknown. Actress Adele James plays Cleopatra in the series.
Mahmoud al-Semary, an Egyptian lawyer, filed a complaint with the country’s public prosecutor, requesting that Netflix be blocked in Egypt for promoting “Afrocentric thinking,” including “slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing Egyptian identity.”
Al-Semary claimed that “Queen Cleopatra” violated Egyptian media laws. Egyptologist Zahi Hawass was also quoted by the newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, who said that Cleopatra was most likely of non-mixed race.
“This is completely false. Cleopatra was Greek, which means she was light-skinned, not black,” said Hawass (via BBC). Hawass accused Netflix of “trying to create confusion by spreading false and misleading facts that the Egyptian civilization is of black origin.”
Two petitions distributed to “Cancel Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra”. more than 88,000 signatures combined. IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for comment.
“Queen Cleopatra” is narrated by Jada Pinkett Smith, who recently told Netflix. I know that the project “represented black women.”
“It’s not often that we see or hear stories about black queens and it was really important for me and my daughter and just for my community to get to know these stories because there are so many of them! ” said Pinkett Smith. “The sad thing is that we don’t have access to these historical women who were so powerful and were the backbone of African nations.”
Back in February, Netflix noted in Tudum that the “creative choice” for James in the title role was a “nod to the centuries-old conversation about the ruling race.”
Netflix consulted Egyptologist Sally-Ann Ashton for the series and i called it is “strange” to present Cleopatra exclusively as a European.
“Cleopatra ruled Egypt long before the Arab settlement of North Africa. If her maternal side of the family had been indigenous women, they would have been African, and that should be reflected in contemporary depictions of Cleopatra,” Ashton said.
James is the main character Twitter on April 13 to respond to the backlash over her casting, writing, “Cleopatra was a queen, not a slave. If you don’t like the casting, don’t watch the show. Or do and participate in an (expert) opinion that differs from yours. Either way, I’m gassed and will continue to be!”
Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been linked to a Cleopatra movie directed by Patty Jenkins. Gadot responded to claims that the ancient monarch was whitewashed in December 2020.
“First of all, if you want to be true to the facts, Cleopatra was Macedonian,” Gadot told BBC Arabic. “We were looking for a Macedonian actress who would suit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.
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