Egypt plans counterprogramming to Netflix Cleopatra. On Wednesday, Netflix released its docu-series “Queen Cleopatra,” which depicts the Egyptian ruler as Black as reported by the Los Angeles Times. However, Egypt has already launched a counterprogramming plan to tell its own version of the Pharaonic ruler’s story using “the highest levels of research and scrutiny.” Al Wathaeqya, the Egyptian state-backed Documentary Channel, recently announced plans to produce a documentary with the government-owned broadcaster United Media Services.
Independent filmmaker and Egyptologist Curtis Ryan Woodside also posted a 90-minute English-language documentary about Cleopatra VII on his YouTube channel on the same day, rejecting “biased” opinions and “misinformed” modern and American iterations of the queen. Egypt’s former minister of state for antiquities affairs, Zahi Hawass, has opposed Netflix’s portrayal of the ancient ruler and railed against Netflix’s documentary series, which is produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, during an Arabic-language interview on Egypt’s MBC network.
He said that when he gives lectures in the U.S., he has been confronted by Black demonstrators calling him a liar. But he said he believes they have “disorganized thinking” when it comes to ancient Egypt, which is his field of expertise. Cleopatra was born in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria in 69 BC and succeeded her father in 51 BC to rule until her death in 30 BC amid the expansion of the Roman Empire.
Egyptologists have confirmed that she was Macedonian-Greek on her father’s side, Ptolemy XII. However, her maternal heritage is less clear; little is known about her birth mother’s ethnic origin. “Queen Cleopatra” splices dramatic reenactments of the ruler’s stories with expert interviews. It sparked a backlash in North Africa for casting mixed-race British actor Adele James as the Pharaonic ruler.
Photo: Facebook / @Queen Cleopatra Netflix Series – 2023