‘Queen Cleopatra’ maker defends Netflix documentary
Director Tina Gharayi defended the upcoming Netflix docudrama Queen Cleopatra after it was criticised for putting a Black actress in the lead part.
In an article for Variety, the director says, “It’s more likely that Cleopatra looked like Adele than like Elizabeth Taylor,” who played the historical figure in the famous 1963 movie Cleopatra.
“For me, the fact that people had gotten it so horribly wrong in the past, from Theda Bara to Monica Bellucci and, more recently, Angelina Jolie and Gal Gadot, meant that we had to get it even more right,” Gharayi wrote.
“Why shouldn’t Cleopatra have brown skin? Why do some people think that Cleopatra has to be white? Her closeness to whiteness seems to give her value, and it seems to matter a lot to some Egyptians.”
“After a lot of worry and a lot of interviews, we found Adele James, who was not only beautiful but also strong like Cleopatra. she went on. Historians can say for sure that Cleopatra was more likely to have looked like Adele than like Elizabeth Taylor.
“Maybe it’s not just that I’ve made a show where Cleopatra is black, but also that I’ve asked Egyptians to see themselves as Africans. That’s why they’re so mad at me.” This is fine with me.
So, what colour was Cleopatra? We don’t know for sure, but we know she wasn’t white like Elizabeth Taylor. “We need to have a talk with ourselves about our colorism and the way Hollywood has taught us to believe in white supremacy,” she said.