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Netflix’s Cleopatra Docudrama Controversy ! Was she Black??

OC Team 1 year ago 0 9

Netflix’s latest docudrama about Cleopatra, the ancient queen of Egypt, has sparked outrage due to its casting choices, particularly the portrayal of Cleopatra by a Black woman.

Egypt’s Outrage

People from Egypt are particularly outraged, complaining about cultural appropriation and the rewriting of their history. Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has issued a statement stressing that “Queen Cleopatra had light skin and Hellenistic (Greek) features,” and criticizes Netflix for casting Adele James, who has “African features and dark skin” according to the Ministry.

Who was Cleopatra?

Cleopatra VII was the last monarch of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC until the country’s conquest and occupation by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) in 30 BC. During her 21-year rule (51-30 BC), Cleopatra maintained Egypt’s autonomy through astute diplomacy and personal charisma amidst the ever-growing Roman Empire. Her death, by suicide, marked the end of Egyptian civilization as a vibrant living culture.

Critics’ Response

Critics have accused Netflix of “blackwashing” – forcefully inserting a Black character at the expense of accuracy, for “political” reasons. Since the film is marketed as a documentary, critics argue that it needs to be faithful to facts. “Those making the film have to be accurate and it should be based on historical and scientific facts, to ensure that history and civilizations are not falsified,” the Egyptian Ministry said.

Cleopatra’s Ethnicity

While various scholars have suggested that Cleopatra was Black, there is no actual evidence behind these claims. According to Duana W Roller, author of Cleopatra: A Biography, Cleopatra was born in a dynasty that went back 250 years. Her ancestor, Ptolemy I, who founded the dynasty, was Macedonian-Greek and a close companion of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra was eight generations removed from Ptolemy. While there is a degree of certainty regarding the Macedonian-Greek origins of the first six generations of wives of the ruling Ptolemies, uncertainty surrounds the origins of Cleopatra’s mother and grandmother.

Roller’s Conclusion

Roller insists that Cleopatra definitely did not have any Black African ancestry. Historical portrayals of Cleopatra from relief art to descriptions by Roman historians also point to Cleopatra having Hellenic features.

TopicInformation
ControversyNetflix’s docudrama about Cleopatra has sparked controversy due to its casting choices, primarily the portrayal of Cleopatra by a Black woman.
Egypt’s OutragePeople from Egypt are particularly outraged, complaining about cultural appropriation and the rewriting of their history. Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has issued a statement stressing that “Queen Cleopatra had light skin and Hellenistic (Greek) features.”
Who was Cleopatra?Cleopatra was the last monarch of the Ptolemaic dynasty and maintained Egypt’s autonomy through astute diplomacy and personal charisma amidst the ever-growing Roman Empire.
Critics’ ResponseCritics accuse Netflix of “blackwashing” and argue that the film needs to be faithful to facts since it is marketed as a documentary.
Cleopatra’s EthnicityWhile various scholars have suggested that Cleopatra was Black, there is no actual evidence behind these claims. Duana W Roller insists that Cleopatra definitely did not have any Black African ancestry.
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