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April 13, 2023
Watch: New Netflix doc swears Cleopatra was black despite nearly ALL historical evidence
Netflix is back at it with another controversial ethnic reimagining - this time, of Queen Cleopatra. Netflix announced yesterday it will be releasing a documentary on the life of the last Pharoah produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. In the series, "Queen Cleopatra," the Macedonian Queen will be black.
Several commentators argue that Cleopatra could have been black, since she and her family lived in Egypt. One featured in the documentary said, "I remember my grandmother saying to me, ‘I don’t care what they tell you in school, Cleopatra was black.'"
\u201cBlack \u2018Cleopatra\u2019 is coming to Netflix https://t.co/HxBO4GSW2N\u201d— Daily Caller (@Daily Caller) 1681358433
Though this point has been up for debate over the last few years, most historians conclude she was not black. Kathryn Bard, professor of archaeology and classical studies at Boston University, told Newsweek, "Cleopatra VII was white—of Macedonian descent, as were all of the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt." This widely-accepted view stems from the belief that Cleopatra descended from Alexander the Great's general Ptolemy I Soter.
Archaeologist Duane W. Roller wrote in Oxford University Press, "It has been suggested – although generally not by credible scholarly sources – that Cleopatra was racially black African. To be blunt, there is absolutely no evidence for this, yet it is one of those issues that seems to take on a life of its own despite all indication to the contrary."
Another historian said it is known that Cleopatra's father and siblings were Greco-Macedonian and "certainly not Black." The ethnicity of her mother is unknown, however. This is the basis for most claims that she could have some African blood and therefore could be mixed race.
What further muddies the waters is the reality that "white" and "black" are fairly modern terms. Cleopatra has long thought to have been a Macedonian Greek, implying a lighter skin tone. She could have had some Egyptian blood, but that doesn't necessarily mean she was "black". Most believe she had a mediterranean, olive-skinned appearance.
My question in all of this is, why does her race even matter? Why is there such a push to claim she was a black woman, in spite of most historical evidence? It would be much more interesting just to focus on her life and accomplishments instead of pushing weak racial arguments that have nothing to do with who she is and what she did. But alas, it is 2023, and that seems to be all anyone is interested in doing these days.
Lily is a Zoomer college dropout who somehow landed a writing gig here at LwC.com. In her spare time, she enjoys going for runs, touching grass, and occasionally tweeting tweets for fellow tweeters.
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