“We need to liberate our imaginations, and boldly create a world in which we can explore our historical figures without fearing the complexity that comes with their depiction”

“Born in Iran, I am a Persian, and Cleopatra’s heritage has been attributed at one time or another to the Greeks, the Macedonians and the Persians. The known facts are that her Macedonian Greek family — the Ptolemaic lineage — intermarried with West Asian’s Seleucid dynasty and had been in Egypt for 300 years. Cleopatra was eight generations away from these Ptolemaic ancestors, making the chance of her being white somewhat unlikely. After 300 years, surely, we can safely say Cleopatra was Egyptian. She was no more Greek or Macedonian than Rita Wilson or Jennifer Aniston. Both are one generation from Greece. Doing the research, I realized what a political act it would be to see Cleopatra portrayed by a Black actress. For me, the idea that people had gotten it so incredibly wrong before — historically, from Theda Bara to Monica Bellucci, and recently, with Angelina Jolie and Gal Gadot in the running to play her — meant we had to get it even more right. The hunt was on to find the right performer to bring Cleopatra into the 21st century.” “The last thing we needed was another Cleopatra divorced from her womanhood and her power only sexualized. The HBO series ‘Rome’ portrayed one of the most intelligent, sophisticated and powerful women in the world as a sleazy, dissipated drug addict, yet Egypt didn’t seem to mind. Where was the outrage then? But portraying her as Black? Well.” “It’s almost as if we don’t realize that misogynoir still has an effect on us today. We need to liberate our imaginations, and boldly create a world in which we can explore our historical figures without fearing the complexity that comes with their depiction.”—”‘Queen Cleopatra’ Director Speaks Out: ‘What Bothers You So Much About a Black Cleopatra?’ ‘It is more likely that Cleopatra looked like our actor than Elizabeth Taylor ever did.'”


After backlash to Netflix’s Black ‘Queen Cleopatra,’ Egypt plans counterprogramming“—”Al Wathaeqya, the Egyptian state-backed Documentary Channel, recently announced plans to produce a documentary with the government-owned broadcaster, United Media Services — an apparent response to what some Egyptian critics called “historical revisionism” in ‘Queen Cleopatra’ by Netflix and others.”

Queen Cleopatra review – the idea that you need a white actor is utterly insidious. Adele James, who stars in this curious Netflix docudrama about ancient Egypt’s most famous queen is the best thing about it – despite the furore around her race.”

Fear of a Black Cleopatra“—”Depictions of Cleopatra with darkly pigmented skin date back at least hundreds of years. A 14th-century chronicle depicts her in a kind of charcoal gray. Scholars have long debated whether certain references in Shakespeare’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ suggest that the playwright believed she had dark skin. In contemporary American pop culture, the assertion is often stated as fact, with her characterized as a beautiful and powerful Black African queen, her name commonly referred to as such in hip-hop. ‘Queen Cleopatra,’ however, has touched an international nerve. The debate around the docudrama escalated when an Egyptian lawyer called for Egyptian authorities to censure Netflix, accusing it of misrepresenting ‘Egyptian identity.’ Zahi Hawass, a former minister of antiquities for Egypt, also entered the fray, claiming that a ‘falsehood’ stands ‘at the heart of this series.’ Cleopatra’s ‘first language was Greek,’ he wrote in an essay for Arab News, ‘and in contemporary busts and portraits she is depicted clearly as being white.’ What debates like this miss is that current notions of race are relatively recent inventions and do not necessarily speak to how people of Cleopatra’s day saw the world or themselves.”

The question isn’t why cast a Black Cleopatra but rather why not profile another African queen?

Watch Queen Cleopatra | Official Trailer | Netflix —”From Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith comes a new documentary series exploring the lives of prominent and iconic African Queens. This season will feature Cleopatra, the world’s most famous, powerful, and misunderstood woman — a daring queen whose beauty and romances came to overshadow her real asset: her intellect. Cleopatra’s heritage has been the subject of much academic debate, which has often been ignored by Hollywood. Now our series re-assesses this fascinating part of her story.”

About Queen Cleopatra—”As Egypt’s last pharaoh, Cleopatra fights to protect her throne, family and legacy in this docudrama featuring reenactments and expert interviews. Starring:Jada Pinkett Smith, Adele James, Craig Russell”

Hermetic Library Omnium We Need Liberate Imaginations Boldly Create World Explore Historical Figures Without Fearing Complexity 11may2023