Monday, May 6

‘Queen Cleopatra’ director defends casting Black actress

The director of the upcoming documentary sequence “Queen Cleopatra” dismissed criticisms of “blackwashing” over her option to solid a Black actress because the well-known Egyptian queen.

Tina Gharavi penned a Saturday column for Variety the place she admitted that having Adele James play Cleopatra is a “political act” to proper the wrongs of White actress Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of the final Egyptian queen in a 1963 movie.

“Why shouldn’t Cleopatra be a melanated sister? And why do some people need Cleopatra to be white? Her proximity to whiteness seems to give her value, and for some Egyptians it seems to really matter,” Ms. Gharavi wrote.

Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary filed a lawsuit towards Netflix final week that claimed the newest installment of Jada Pinkett Smith’s “African Queens” undertaking was “erasing the Egyptian identity,” in line with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Leading Egyptologist Zahi Hawass informed Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm individually that “Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black.”

Ms. Gharavi shot again on the folks talking up about her choice to solid Ms. James within the main function, but they have been silent when HBO’s sequence “Rome” depicted her as a “sleazy, dissipated drug addict.”

“Perhaps, it’s not just that I’ve directed a series that portrays Cleopatra as Black, but that I have asked Egyptians to see themselves as Africans, and they are furious at me for that. I am okay with this,” the director wrote in Variety.

Ms. Gharavi ends the column by saying that it’s nonetheless not identified what Cleopatra’s pores and skin colour was, however that “we need to have a conversation with ourselves about our colorism, and the internalized white supremacy that Hollywood has indoctrinated us with.”

“It’s almost as if we don’t realize that misogynoir still has an effect on us today,” Ms. Gharavi wrote. “We need to liberate our imaginations, and boldly create a world in which we can explore our historical figures without fearing the complexity that comes with their depiction. I am proud to stand with ‘Queen Cleopatra’ — a re-imagined Cleopatra — and with the team that made this.”

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