It seems that it’s not just individual historians and fans of objective truth that have taken issue with Netflix’s decision to race-swap the eponymous ruler for their upcoming Queen Cleopatra docuseries, as Egypt’s national Ministry of Tourism and Arcaheology recently voiced a stark opposition to the streamer’s attempt to rewrite their own history.
RELATED: Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ Director Condescendingly Dismisses Criticism Against Series’ Race-Swapping Of Actual History: “We Don’t Realize That Misogynoir Still Has An Effect On Us Today”
The second entry in producer Jada Pinkett-Smith’s African Queen series, Queen Cleopatra will set out to tell the story of “Queen Cleopatra, the world’s most famous, powerful, and misunderstood woman — a daring queen whose beauty and romances came to overshadow her real asset: her intellect.”
“Cleopatra’s heritage has been the subject of much academic debate, which has often been ignored by Hollywood,” reads the series’ official synopsis. “Now our series re-assesses this fascinating part of her story.”
In attempting to validate her taking creative liberty to portray the historical figure as black, Pinkett-Smith argued, “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!”
“Cleopatra is a queen who many know about, but not in her truth,” she added. “She’s been displayed as overtly sexual, excessive, and corrupt, yet she was a strategist, an intellect, a commanding force of nature, who fought to protect her kingdom…and her heritage is highly debated. This season will dive deeper into her history and re-assesses this fascinating part of her story.”
Unsurprisingly given its blatant disregard of factual evidence, Netflix’s announcement of the series resulted in them receiving a wave of criticism from potential audience members – the entirety of which, especially those complaints leveled by actual Egyptians, have since been condescendingly dismissed by the project’s director Tina Gharavi on the grounds that she cannot believe anyone would want their history treated respectfully rather than patronizingly overwritten in order to center someone who only tangentially shared a superficial quality with them.
However, it seems the streaming service will no longer be able to simply plug their ears and ignore the objections to their blatant disrespect, as Egypt’s own Ministry of of Tourism and Archaeology recently joined the conversation themselves to offer a scathing rebuke of Queen Cleopatra‘s self-important rhetoric.
In a statement published to their official Facebook page on April 27th, the Ministry explained that as per the nation’s Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Archeology Mostafa Waziri (via Meta’s automatic translation tool), “the appearance of the heroine in this body is a falsification of Egyptian history and a blatant historical misconception”.
“Especially because the film is classified as a documentary and not a drama, a classification which requires the owners of the industry to investigate accuracy and refer to historical and scientific facts in order to ensure that the history and civilizations of peoples is not falsified,” they added.
RELATED: Change.org Removes Petition Calling On Netflix To Cancel Race-Swapped ‘Queen Cleopatra’ Docuseries Due To Historical Inaccuracy, Claims It Violated Community Guidelines
“[Waziri] added that archaeologists and anthropologists should have been referred to when making such kind of documentary and historical films that will remain a witness on civilizations and history of nations,” the government body continued, “noting that there are many Queen Cleopatra’s artifacts and depiction on coins that confirm its true shape and features, which they all show off Queen Cleopatra’s Hellenic (Greek) features, in terms of light complexion, drawn nose, and fluffy lips.”
“[He also] says that the state of rejection that the film witnessed before its screening comes from the heart of defending the history of Queen Cleopatra VII, which is an important and authentic part of ancient Egyptian history, and away from any ethnic racism, certainly on the full respect for African civilizations and our brothers in the African continent that unites us all,” wrote the Ministry.
Turning to another expert, the Ministry then cited Cairo University Egyptian Department of Archaeology head Dr. Nasser Mekkawy, noting how he had likewise declared “that Queen Cleopatra’s appearance in this film in this body competes with the simplest historical facts and the writings of historians, such as Plutarchus and Diocasius, who recorded the events of Roman history in Egypt in the reign of Queen Cleopatra and affirmed that she was light-skinned and that she is of pure Macedonian origins”.
“[Mekkawy] pointed out that Queen Cleopatra VII descended from an ancient Macedonian dynasty that ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years, founded by King Batlemus I, a Macedonian leader of the army of Alexander the Great, to which the state of Egypt came after the death of Alexander and founded the Bethlehemian family,” they elaborated. “Bethlehemous I married Queen ‘Bernicky I’, also of Macedonian descent, and King Bethlehemus II, where after him his sons and grandchildren continued to mate from their female sisters in accordance with the customs of this era, with the arrival of Queen Cleopatra VII and her brother Batlehemus 14 maintaining the purity of their Macedonian race throughout this time period.”
“Formerly, Biological anthropology studies and DNA studies conducted on ancient Egyptian mummies and bones confirmed that Egyptians do not bear the features of South-Sahara Africans, whether in the form of the skull, genital anthropology or DNA,” detailed the Ministry. “Biological acid studies conducted on mummies and bones, confirmed that the Egyptians do not carry the features of sub-Saharan Africans in the form of skull, the width of the foreskin, the width, the nose and the expansion of the upper jaw, hair appearance, body organ ratio, height length, distribution or density of body hair. The fact that we see a great diversity between the features of Egyptians is due to the progress of this land being built, the stability of its inhabitants, and their melting to every stranger within their space.”
“[Mekkawy] added that all the sculptures and statues left behind by the ancient Egyptians on temples and tombs depicted Egyptians with features similar to that of modern Egyptians in terms of eye color, hair, skin, the softness and density of hair of men and women,” the statement noted. “Even the skin color and the presence of colored eyes, which are depicted in some ancient country statues. Even when some of the embossing techniques in the 21st family changed and they began to paint the mummy’s skin to make them look as they did in their first life, they painted the man’s skin in brown color and the woman’s skin in light yellow, confirming that what was drawn and confirmed on the walls is a fact recorded by the ancient Egyptian himself.”
Drawing on the expertise of one last specialist, the Ministry closed out their statement with the words of Dr. Katrina Matrinez, head of the Dominican mission and worker at the Temple of Tapozeris Magna west in Alexandria.
“[As per Dr. Martinez], although there are conflicting views about her race, it is certain that she was born in Egypt in 69 AD from Macedonian origin,” they concluded, “a sign that, by referring to the statues and coins left behind, the queen asserts without doubt her Hellenistic features, which is clearly seen in the marble bust preserved in the Berlin Museum from the first century BC, and is seen wearing a royal crown and eyes with a Lusitani drawn nose and delicate lips, plus another half statue preserved in the Vatican shown with soft features, a marble head shown in it wearing a headscarf, as well as a number of coins depicted by the same Hellenistic body.”
Queen Cleopatra is currently set to further patronize the people of Egypt on May 10th.
NEXT: Netflix’s Upcoming ‘Queen Cleopatra’ Docuseries To Race-Swap Historical Egyptian Ruler: “Cleopatra Is A Queen Who Many Know About, But Not In Her Truth”