Netflix Unleashes Controversy in Egypt for Black Cleopatra

Cleopatra, the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in ancient Egypt, remains a very important figure in the country’s history several centuries after her death, so her personality is almost a matter of state. Proof of this is the controversy that broke out in it Egypt Because of how it represents her Netflix In a documentary series that will premiere on May 10: As a Woman black, Thus, it is betting on consolidation, as it has done in other projects, but it is drawing complaints from the most fundamentalists.

The second season of African queensand is an executive producer Jada Pinkett Smith (Wife of Will Smith), will deal with the life of Cleopatra, a controversial figure in many ways, and also because of the color of her skin. Of Macedonian descent, she was usually represented on screen by white actresses.

Netflix already announced last February that it had cast the British black actress Adele James (victimAnd the doctors), “as a nod to the conversation that has taken place for centuries about the race of the ruler”. A controversy that seems to be going on now, as he sees the reactions sparked by the first pictures of the series in Egypt.

“cause confusion”

According to BBC News, the Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass He criticized the choice of Netflix, in remarks to the newspaper Egyptian today that “Cleopatra was Greek, which means she was fair-skinned, not black.”

Netflix is ​​trying it cause confusion By spreading false and misleading facts that the origin of Egyptian civilization is black,” he denounced while calling on Egyptians to oppose the giant of Egypt. flow.

lawyer Mahmoud Al Samry He went so far as to file a complaint with the Attorney General for “necessary legal action” and Block access to Netflix services in Egypt. The lawyer accuses the platform of trying to “promote African thought (…) which includes slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing the Egyptian identity.”

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the hero of the story African queensAdele James, defended herself on the networks from criticism: “If you don’t like it Pour“Don’t watch the programme,” he wrote.

From The Bridgertons to Anne Boleyn

But Netflix has already shown its commitment to inclusion on projects like The Bridgertonsin which black characters appear from the high society of England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and Queen Charlottewhich will be released next May. Also available on HBO Max is, for example, the series in which the black actress stars Jodi Turner Smith played Anne Boleyn. One of the wives of Henry VIII of England.

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This is not the first time that Cleopatra’s portrayal on screen has sparked heated debates. Three years ago, that actress was criticized Gal Gadot I can bring it to life BiographyQuite the opposite: in this case the accusation of money laundering capacity. Many preferred an Arab or African actress for this role.

Previously, the most famous representations of Cleopatra in cinema were also with white actresses: Vivian Lee in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), Sophia Loren in Cleopatra Nights (1954) and above all, Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (1963).

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