Are Hollywood producers trying to rewrite history for their political agenda? It seems so, as Egypt is currently fuming over Netflix’s portrayal of Cleopatra as a black woman. In a country that values its historical significance and cultural heritage, the depiction of Cleopatra, an ancient Egyptian ruler, as a black woman has left many Egyptians with a bad taste. This move by Netflix has prompted Egypt to take legal action against the streaming giant.
A lawsuit has been filed against Netflix for portraying Cleopatra as a black woman in the documentary ‘Queen Cleopatra.’
The Netflix series “Queen Cleopatra” was produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of Will Smith, and cast Casualty actress Adele James as the iconic Egyptian monarch. Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, was actually a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which was descended from Ptolemy I, a Macedonian Greek general who served under Alexander the Great.
Due to this, some argue that Cleopatra’s ancestry was primarily Greek, so she shouldn’t be depicted as black.
Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary argued that the recently-released trailer promotes a divisive Afrocentrism, and even called for the Netflix production team to be punished for participating in a “crime” against Egypt and its culture.
The attorney said, “In order to preserve the Egyptian national and cultural identity among Egyptians all over the world there must be pride in the makings of such work.”
He added that “most of Netflix’s offerings “do not conform to Islamic and societal values and principles, especially Egyptian ones.”
In addition, Netflix and the makers of ‘Queen Cleopatra’ are accused of “forgery.” Actress Adele James vowed to block all detractors on social media after Twitter users accused her of cultural appropriation.
Despite attracting over 85,000 signatures in under two days, a Change.org petition calling for Netflix to cancel the miniseries was mysteriously removed by the platform.
It’s clear that Netflix’s depiction of Cleopatra has sparked a wave of fury in Egypt. This move by the entertainment giant raises important questions concerning the ethics of rewriting history for political gain. As cultural sensitivity continues to be a hot-button issue, it’s crucial that Hollywood producers fully understand the significance of historical figures to different cultures and communities. The lawsuit filed by Egypt shows that the country is serious about protecting its cultural heritage and history. If Netflix wants to maintain a solid footing in Egypt’s market, it needs to tread carefully and ensure that its content does not hurt the sentiments of the Egyptian people.
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