Queen Cleopatra: Why are Egyptians angry over the new Netflix series?

Queen Cleopatra (Credit: YouTube)

Queen Cleopatra: Why are Egyptians angry over the new Netflix series?

As soon as Netflix released its upcoming drama Queen Cleopatra, which revolves around the life of Egypt’s most popular queen, it ran into controversy. This is because Queen Cleopatra was played by a black woman in the series. The series has faced criticism mainly from Egyptians, who complain of cultural appropriation.

The four-part series, produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, was released on May 10 and stars British actor Adele James as Queen Cleopatra. This is not the first time the series has faced criticism for Cleoptara’s skin tone. The trailer for the series sparked a lot of debate online in April about how the Queen is portrayed. This is the second installation of a Netflix “docuseries” about African queens that focuses on female kings and queens of that region.

Why do some Egyptians rave about Queen Cleopatra?

Egyptians are particularly upset, criticizing the appropriation of their culture and changing their history. In a lengthy statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities criticized Netflix for choosing Adele James, who it claims has “African features and dark skin”, as Queen Cleopatra had “light skin and Hellenistic (Greek) features .” According to the Egyptian ministry, “Those who make the film must be accurate and it must be based on historical and scientific facts, to ensure that history and civilizations are not falsified.”

An Egyptian lawyer who reportedly filed a complaint against the series said: “Our biggest objection is the falsification of these facts. It’s not about being Black or White or even Yellow. Let’s say they wanted to portray Cleopatra as a man, we would object to that too.”

Queen Cleopatra (Credit: YouTube)

Who was Queen Cleopatra?

Cleopatra was born in the year 69 BC in Alexandria, Egypt. She ruled until her death, continuing her father Ptolemy XII’s rule. The Romans then took control of Egypt. Cleopatra VII, commonly referred to as “Cleopatra,” was the last of the Ptolemies, a line of kings that ruled ancient Egypt for about 300 years. Cleopatra controlled an empire that included parts of modern-day Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries.

During her 21-year reign (51–30 BC), Cleopatra was credited with keeping Egypt independent by using shrewd diplomacy and personal magnetism in the face of the Roman Empire’s accelerated expansion. She committed suicide, and her death marked the end of Egypt as a vibrant, evolving civilization.

ALSO READ: Queen Cleopatra: Why is Netflix facing backlash over new documentary series? Everything you need to know

Queen Cleopatra: Why are Egyptians angry over the new Netflix series?

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