African Queens ( African Queens ) is a series of historical documentaries produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of actor Will Smith. The program focuses on exploiting the lives of female monarchs from Africa.
Season 1 airing in 2022 explores Angola’s warrior queen Njinga through expert interviews and reenactments.
Following the success, on April 12, the film released the second season trailer, with the central character being Queen Cleopatra of ancient Egypt. However, the manufacturer is being criticized as “changing white for black”, distorting history.
In the trailer, a historian claims that Queen Cleopatra was black and had curly hair. The actor chosen to play the famous female monarch is Adele James, an Englishman of African descent.
This statement angered the Egyptians. They were outraged because the film went against what is recorded in the history books that Queen Cleopatra was from the Macedonian Kingdom (of the ancient Greek civilization).
Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former Minister of Antiquities, condemned the fake film. According to him, Cleopatra was Greek, which means she had light skin, not black. Hawass noted that the only known Egyptian kings with black skin were the Kushite king of the 25th Dynasty (747-656 BC).
“Netflix is trying to incite confusion by spreading false and misleading facts that the origin of Egyptian civilization is black,” he said, not forgetting to call on his compatriots to stand up against them. online broadcasting platform.
On April 16, Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary filed a complaint with the prosecutor asking to take the necessary legal measures to “ban” Netflix. He accused the show of violating Egypt’s media law, and criticized Netflix for “promoting African-centred thinking… including slogans and articles that distort, delete abandon the Egyptian identity”.
Show, trailer African Queens: Queen Cleopatra received more than 2 million views on YouTube after 7 days of posting. Netflix has turned off the commenting feature under videos after facing backlash from the online community.
A petition to cancel the program posted on Change.org attracted more than 3,000 signatures. Earlier, another petition received more than 62,000 signatures, but was taken down.
“For the nth time, I would like to clarify that the Queen of Egypt Cleopatra is not Egyptian. She is Greek. Cleopatra VII is white – of Macedonian origin, like all Ptolemaic rulers,” one netizen commented.
“Netflix has once again blackened the white character in history. The victim this time is Queen Cleopatra. She was turned into a black woman even though I knew she was white – Macedonian/Greek,” another wrote.
Egyptian actress and singer Somaya Elkhashab also joined the debate. She wrote on Twitter: “Defining Queen Cleopatra as black to satisfy modern African-American fantasies is purely a theft of Egyptian history and an attempt to rewrite the greats of history. Blacking out a Greek queen shows an obsession with white women and it doesn’t stop racism.”
Besides, a part of the audience showed curiosity and interest in a black Cleopatra.
The most classic Queen Cleopatra image in world cinema history is played by British star Elizabeth Taylor in the legendary epic blockbuster. Cleopatra (1963). She is white.
Three years ago, the plan to make a new movie about the famous female monarch, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, caused a backlash from those who thought the role should be for Egyptians or Africans. . They also criticized filmmakers for “whitewashing” behavior – which has been a thorny problem in Hollywood for many years.
At that time, Gal Gadot replied: “Cleopatra is Macedonian, that’s true if you want to know. We searched for an actress of Macedonian descent who would fit Cleopatra’s image. But he hasn’t appeared yet, and I’ve always been enamored with the queen of Egypt.”
According to Daily Mail