Egyptians are up in arms against film streaming site Netflix over the depiction of Queen Cleopatra VII as a black African.
The depiction is contained in a Netflix docudrama series African Queens.
Only the trailer of the series has been released attracting the anger but producers are standing their grounds on their decision on choice of actress for the role.
People from across the Egyptian society are using formal and informal channels to channel their grievance including a lawyer who filed a complaint that accuses Netflix of violating media laws and aiming to “erase the Egyptian identity”.
A top archaeologist insisted Cleopatra was “light-skinned, not black”.
The producer defended the depiction stating: “her heritage is highly debated” and the actress playing her, Adele James, told critics: “If you don’t like the casting, don’t watch the show.”
Jada Pinkett Smith, the American actress who was executive producer and narrator, was meanwhile quoted as saying: “We don’t often get to see or hear stories about black queens, and that was really important for me, as well as for my daughter, and just for my community to be able to know those stories because there are tons of them!”
About Cleopatra – BBC content
Cleopatra was born in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in 69 BC and became the last queen of a Greek-speaking dynasty founded by Alexander the Great’s Macedonian general Ptolemy.
She succeeded her father Ptolemy XII in 51 BC and ruled until her death in 30 BC. Afterwards, Egypt fell under Roman domination.
The identity of Cleopatra’s mother is not known, and historians say it is possible that she, or any other female ancestor, was an indigenous Egyptian or from elsewhere in Africa.