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A government-owned Egyptian broadcaster has responded to the casting of a Black actress to play Cleopatra in the Netflix docudrama series “African Queens,” which streams from May 10, by announcing production of its own big-budget Cleopatra doc.

The fact that Britain’s Adele James, who is of mixed heritage, plays the first-century Egyptian ruler as a queen with African roots in the Netflix original produced by Jada Pinkett Smith has been sparking an uproar in Egypt. 

Ever since the trailer dropped last month local academics and others are claiming that Cleopatra, who was born in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in 69 BC and belonged to a Greek-speaking dynasty, was of European descent and not Black.

In response to what they claim is Netflix’s falsification of Egypt’s history, the Al Wathaeqya channel — which is a subsidiary of Egypt’s state-affiliated United Media Services — has announced start of production on a high-end doc about the true story of Queen Cleopatra, which it claims in a statement is based on the “utmost levels” of research and accuracy.

Egypt to remake the Cleopatra with “light skin, a drawn-out nose and thin lips.”

Popular comedian Bassem Youssef in a recent TV interview with British journalist Piers Morgan accused Netflix of trying to “take over our Egyptian culture.”

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An Egyptian lawyer has also filed a complaint demanding that legal measures are taken to block Netflix outright in Egypt, to prevent the show from airing, though that has not happened — at least not yet.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the government entity in charge of heritage, has complained on Twitter that “Statues of Queen Cleopatra confirm that she had Hellenistic (Greek) features, distinguished by light skin, a drawn-out nose and thin lips.”

Netflix director claps back at Egyptian critics

“Why do some people need Cleopatra to be white?” the show’s director, Tina Gharavi, wrote in an op-ed piece defending the casting in Variety online last month. “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.”

Kevin Hart stood up for Black Kings and Queens

In February, Kevin Hart did not appear for a scheduled show in Cairo, Egypt after it was reportedly canceled following the comedian’s alleged statements calling ancient Egyptian kings Black. Because they were. 

Hart sparked an uproar of criticism for taking an “Afrocentric” stance regarding Egyptian history.

“We must teach our children the true history of Black Africans when they were kings in Egypt and not just the era of slavery that is cemented by education in America. Do you remember the time when we were kings?” Hart stated.

Netflix has repeatedly declined to comment on the ongoing controversy.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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