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Netflix Draws Ire and Complaints over ‘Blackwashing’ of Cleopatra

Netflix Draws Ire and Complaints over ‘Blackwashing’ of Cleopatra

The furor in Egypt over the casting is such that an Egyptian lawyer is now suing Netflix over the casting, and wants Netflix shut down in the nation.

As an ancient Egypt enthusiast, there are few things I enjoy more than a good historical drama featuring the land of the Nile. So, when I heard Netflix was doing a biopic series of Cleopatra VII, the iconic queen, I was excited.

There are so many versions of Cleopatra, who is always a popular subject, how could things go wrong?

Then, I remembered . . . it’s Netflix.

Egyptian experts have criticized Netflix for “blackwashing” its upcoming docu-series about Queen Cleopatra VII.

Now, they’re taking action to see that the show never airs — by banning the streaming giant from the country completely.

“African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” is narrated and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, 51, and stars Adele James, 27, who is biracial, as the legendary queen of Egypt, whose specific race has long been the subject of historical dispute.

Pinkett Smith previously explained that she wanted to be involved in the project because she “really wanted to represent Black women.”

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass denounced the biopic series and accused it of “falsifying facts.”

Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was blonde, not black.”

Hawass added that in recent years a trend emerged, led by black Americans and blacks in South America, claiming that the Egyptian civilization is of black origin.

He stressed that such claims were completely false.

The black civilization has no connection with the Egyptian civilization, Hawass said, pointing out that the black civilization did not rule Egypt except in the twenty-fifth dynasty during the era of the Kingdom of Kush, i.e. at the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Hawass pointed out that Egyptian temples contain drawings of Egyptian kings. These sketches are depictions of men striking their enemies.

The enemies are depicted as either African, Nubian, Libyan or Asian, and all of them look very different in nationality from the Egyptian kings.

While her hair color may be open to debate, there is a portrait of a woman wearing a diadem of Hellenic royalty, a hairstyle popular in Cleopatra’s era, wearing pearls (a popular fashion accessory at that time), and a profile similar to statues believed to be of the queen. Therefore, Hawass does have evidence to back up his claim. This image was created within the lifetime of someone who may have actually seen the real Cleopatra.

The furor in Egypt is such that an Egyptian lawyer is now suing Netflix over the casting.

Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary has sued Netflix for depicting Cleopatra as a Black woman in a new documentary.

al-Semary filed a case with the Public Prosecutor to shut down the streaming service in Egypt, following the release of the trailer for Queen Cleopatra – you can watch it below.

As reported by Egypt Independent, the lawyer has demanded that serious legal action be taken against those responsible for the making of the documentary.

The case claims that the documentary contradicts and distorts Egyptian history in favour of promoting Afrocentrism.

al-Semary described the new depiction of the historic figure as a “crime”, and blamed Netflix’s management team for its participation in the project. He also demanded a thorough investigation of the process, as well as an outright shutdown of Netflix in Egypt.

To be honest, I have long given up on historical accuracy for anything related to ancient Egypt. All I really want is an entertainment that doesn’t insult my intelligence.

Furthermore, each era has its own version of Cleopatra. Why? She is depicted according to the beauty standards of the time. So, I am quite open to embracing a new view on the queen.

Also, the Netflix version is not the first to have a black actress selected for that role. As an example, here is a scene from Shakespeare’s version of “Antony and Cleopatra” starring Yanna McIntosh and Geraint Wyn Davies that was produced in 2015.

But it must be stressed the play is offered as fiction. Neflix is claiming its production is a “documentary,” so its production must be held to a higher standard of fact and reality.

Unfortunately, as the trailer indicates, the Netflix biopic will be filled with woke antics and deviations from actual history that do insult the intelligence. Reworking Cleopatra  into Xena, Warrior Egyptian Queen is laughable.

I guess I should be grateful Netflix opted not to choose Lizzo for the part.

In a raw and unfiltered video posted to Instagram over the weekend, the Grammy-winning artist continued to boost body positivity as she expressed love and appreciation for herself. Rocking a cozy gray robe, a seemingly bare face, and damp, tousled hair, Lizzo took the time to showcase her entire look while confidently declaring, “I just finished showering and doing my little routine, and you know what I realized? I am f**king gorgeous. I am the beauty standard. Catch up, b*tch!”

However, all of this Neflix inanity has me wishing for the Liz version.


Will I watch it? Probably, yes.  I am an Egyptophile and Egypt junkie. But that doesn’t mean I won’t mock it.

Until then, here is a detailed review of the trailer with actual historical information and fact-based analysis.


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This sort of historical revisionism is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done by the perennially offended.

If you give it clicks they will just keep giving us crap..

“a trend emerged, led by black Americans and blacks in South America, claiming that the Egyptian civilization is of black origin”

If you refuse to learn algebra and other useful skills (all developed by other cultures, not yours), do the next best thing. Appropriate a successful civilization and claim it as your own.

Wasn’t Cleopatra the last of the The Ptolemaic dynasty meaning Macedonian Greek?
I too will stick to the Liz Taylor version. The dialogue among the lead actors in that production was second to none.

    UnCivilServant in reply to Whitewall. | April 23, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    She was, and that family tree didn’t branch. She was as Macedonian as the first of the Ptolemys. There wasn’t much opportunity for other genes to get in.

Negro actors were hired to portray white European founding fathers in ‘Hamilton.’ A Negro woman recently portrayed Disney’s ‘Ariel’ in the very white fairy tale, ‘The little mermaid,’ by Hans Christian Anderson. Heck, decades ago, Bill Clinton declared himself to be ‘the first black president.’

So brave. Up twinkles. So progessive.

But let me, a pasty-white, European Christianista with a horribly Prussian surname, dress up like an American Indian for halloween, and I’m excoriated for ‘cultural appropriation.’

Have a white man play Obama and we’ll call it even.

    Whitewall in reply to Paula. | April 23, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    Riots would follow!

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Paula. | April 23, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    We already have that – Joe Biden.

    Hey. I think this is a good idea. Seriously.

    goswo94 in reply to Paula. | April 24, 2023 at 3:40 am

    Obama is half white, He just calls himself black and rejects half of his heritage.

      guyjones in reply to goswo94. | April 24, 2023 at 10:21 am

      Yeah, it’s interesting how the mainstream media and Dumb-o-crats can never honestly characterize narcissist-incompetent, Obama, like the man himself. They always describe him as “black,” instead of the more accurate “bi-racial,” totally disowning and disavowing 50% of his heritage. It’s so important to them that Obama be described as a sanctified “black.”

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | April 23, 2023 at 2:21 pm

They made Little Orphan Annie black, a role defined, in large part, by being a redhead. That showed that they have no limits or sense, at all.

Probably most well known depiction of Egyptian woman is the ~3500 year old Nefertiti Bust:

or the 4500 year old statue of Princess Nofret:

This was all the rage in the early 90’s when I was in college. Yawn. It’s been debunked repeatedly but still pops up like whack a mole every few years.

    pst314 in reply to CommoChief. | April 24, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Debunked, but the left doesn’t care about facts.
    So debunking can persuade the uncommitted, but not the leftists.

She was 100% inbred Greek.

I was hoping for Meg Ryan for the orgasm scene.

Motherships and black supercultures? Louis Farrakhan has been preaching that for decades.

Subotai Bahadur | April 23, 2023 at 5:56 pm

You have to realize that the Media and News oligarchy in the West is NOT part of our country and civilization. They are different and the enemy. Thus how they portray matters is deliberately designed to attack us. Once you understand that, you know that they lie happily and as the norm. And should not be believed for anything.

Subotai Bahadur

Somewhere along the line, Americans discovered that Egypt is in Africa–the northeast corner to be precise. So, what with the common American superstition that everyone between the Mediterranean and Cape of Good Hope is “black”, why shouldn’t Cleopatra, a queen of Egypt, be portrayed as black? Next, they’ll do a movie on the Boer War and show General Jan CHristiaan Smuts and Paul Kruger as black men. They were, after all, born in Africa. sarc.

By the way, Uncle Kepha is perfectly cognizant of Cleopatra belonging to the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic dynasty, and that her picture on ancient coins and bust show an unsurprisingly Greek-looking woman.

    pst314 in reply to Kepha H. | April 24, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    Not a common superstition among Americans in general. Rather, it is common among black Americans. And it is repeated by some white leftists who know better but find it politically useful.

This is appropriation.

But why are Greek people (and red headed Irish people) singled out for this treatment? Why isn’t Ghenghis Khan, for example, portrayed by a Black man?

All of the recent BBC productions have black actors in historically incorrect roles. The American cinema has done this as well but not to the extent of the British. The American market has pushed inter-racial relationships and the LGBQTALFABETSOUP agenda.

As a legitimate and authentic African, Elon Musk would have every right to produce and star in a biopic of Shaka Zulu.