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“Black” Cleopatra on Netflix “documentary” triggers reactions (POLL)

Netflix is facing a backlash after a film, a supposed documentary, presenting Cleopatra, the Greek Queen of Ancient Egypt, as being one of the “black queens of Africa,” as one of the producers claimed.

“Black-washing” historical figures such a Cleopatra has been criticized for “history theft” and strong reactions were posted on social media.

The new NETFLIX “documentary” claims to explore the untold story of Cleopatra’s reign and her legacy, which has been overshadowed by her romantic involvement with Roman General Mark Antony.

In the poster and the trailer of the “documentary,” the legendary queen of Egypt is presented as black, contrary to history and until now depictions in Art.

In the comments on youtube, not one defends the “blackwashed” Cleopatra, and Egyptians urge Netflix to learn about Egyptians and Egypt’s history.

Who was Cleopatra?

Cleopatra was an ancient Greek queen and not Egyptian as many think.

She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a Greek family of Macedonian origin, who ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great during the Hellenistic period.

Born in 69 BC in Alexandria, she was a descendant of dynasty founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great.

Her native language was Koine Greek – Common Greek – . and she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.

Cleopatra was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 BC until her death in 30 BC and its last active ruler.


Comments left in the official YouTube trailer are far from flattering for NETFLIX with users pointing out that the streaming platform needs to learn history.

The distortion of history regarding the origin and appearance of Cleopatra caused reactions even in Egypt, with social media users reminding the platform of the reality.

Many internet users argue that while it is essential to acknowledge historical figures of African descent, it is equally important to represent them accurately.

Greeks comment rather ironically and also urge Netflix and the “documentary” producers to read History.

The film will be on Metflix on May 10.

POLL: And you? What do you think of a black Cleopatra?

"Blackwashed" Cleopatra?

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  1. I can’t get very exercised about the whole blackwashing debate but I am a devout pedant. On their own advertising poster Netflix describe the programme as a “Documentary”. In that case they should try to make it as historically accurate as possible and they clearly have not done that. On that basis I voted “No”. If they had described it as a “Drama” or even a “Docudrama” then they would have license to do whatever they want.

    Having said that I can’t imagine why any of us expect a Netflix producer to have any knowledge of history?

  2. Will Netflix produce a film about the real Martin Luther King? A white woman from Luxembourg dressed in reverse drag? Makes as much sense.