Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Netflix’s black-skinned Cleopatra angers Egyptians – “distortion of Egyptian history”


Netflix’s new Cleopatra documentary series has heated feelings in Egypt.

6.5. 21:39

Netflix’s new drama documentary Queen Cleopatra, released in Finland on May 10, has angered Egyptians.

As the name suggests, the four-part series is about Cleopatra, the great ruler of ancient Egypt who ruled the country between 51 and 30 BC. It was produced by American Jada Pinkett Smith and starred British Adele James.

However, the choice of the actor for the lead role has been attributed to the Egyptian Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities.

The reason for this is that James, who plays the role of the queen, has a dark complexion. In the series trailer, for example, a certain historian is directly quoted, who claims that Cleopatra was black and “curly haired”.

The ministry published a lengthy announcement on the subject, which was quoted by the Daily Mail among others. In it, the ministry, with the help of several experts, strongly asserts that, for example, based on statues made of her, Cleopatra was clearly fair and had Greek features.

Along with the expert statements, the ministry has attached lots of photographs of antiquities, coins and works of art which are believed to depict at least one Cleopatra, according to its press release.

The choice of Adele James as Cleopatra did not go down well with the Egyptians.

The choice of Adele James as Cleopatra did not go down well with the Egyptians. Photo: Netflix

Among other things, Mustafa Waziri, one of the ministry’s leading officials, criticizes Netflix’s casting choice for “a distortion of Egyptian history”.

Waziri stressed that the ministry’s approach is not based on racism, but on “defending an important part of Cleopatra’s history, ie the ancient history of Egypt”. He says that in the process of making the series things should have been examined by anthropologists and archaeologists.

– It is classified as a drama and not a drama, which means that the parties owning the series should check its accuracy and check scientific and historical facts, so that the history of nations and Civilization cannot be perverted, says Vaziri.

Nasser Mekavi, head of the Egyptian archeology faculty at Cairo University, reminds us that Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic ruling family. It is known that their ancestors came from ancient Macedonia, whose center was located roughly in modern northern Greece.

Former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass points out that there were black rulers in Egypt, but Cleopatra was not related to them. Around 747-656 BC The territory of Egypt was ruled by the Nubian kings of Kush.

Netflix is ​​trying to mislead by spreading distorted and false facts, according to which Egyptian civilization was originally black, Hawass says.

Read more: Five new shows you shouldn’t miss: did the German princess have African roots?

Netflix responded to the criticism on its Tudum website.

According to the producers of the series, James was deliberately chosen for the lead role. This decision was partly influenced by the fact that, as a multi-ethnic person, she was required to represent “theories about Cleopatra’s possible Egyptian ancestors” and to reflect well the “multicultural nature of ancient Egypt”. was supposed to do.

The series’ producers say they collaborated with “leading historians and experts” in the production. In their press release, they cited two names as experts, University of Hamilton professor Shelley Haley and Cleopatra researcher Sally-Ann Ashton.

James, on the other hand, took to Twitter to give a simple response to those criticizing the series.

– If you don’t like the role, don’t watch the series, actor rocked,

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