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Cleopatra wasn’t a Black woman, Egypt tells Netflix in a feud over new drama-documentary

A promotional image for the Netflix series "Queen Cleopatra," showing Adele James in costume with two figures against a dark background.The Netflix series “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” streams in May 2023.


  • Egypt has accused Netflix of misrepresenting Cleopatra by framing her as a Black woman. 
  • Dr. Mustafa Waziri of the Supreme Council of Archeology said it’s a “blatant historical fallacy.”
  • The drama-documentary “Queen Cleopatra” is set to air on May 10, with Adele James cast as the queen.

The Egyptian government has accused Netflix of misrepresenting Cleopatra by framing her as a Black woman. 

“Queen Cleopatra,” the soon-to-be-released drama-documentary on the famed Egyptian queen, portrays her as a Black woman. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has described this as a “blatant historical misconception,” and she was light-skinned, according to reports.

Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Archeology, said that the legendary queen had Greek features and explained that this is proven through a series of artifacts and depictions on coins. 

Waziri said that depicting Cleopatra, a legendary beauty, as a Black woman is a “falsification of Egyptian history and a blatant historical fallacy.”


The archeologist added that his statement was “far from any ethnic racism, stressing full respect for African civilizations and for our brothers in the African continent that brings us all together.”

In the statement written on the ministry’s Facebook page, Dr. Nasser Mekkawy, Head of the Egyptian Department of Archeology, said that biological anthropological studies have found that Cleopatra shares no DNA with South-Saharan Africans, and she descended from the ancient Macedonian dynasty that ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years. 

As such, the ministry has slammed Netflix’s classification of the upcoming production as a documentary, saying that it “requires those in charge of its production to investigate accuracy and rely on historical and scientific facts.”

They argue it should instead be reclassified as a drama. 

There have been calls in Egypt for the series to be banned, NBC News reported.

The drama-documentary is set to air on Netflix on May 10, with Adele James, who is mixed race, cast to play the queen.

James, 27, who has received racist abuse on social media as a result of the row, tweeted: “If you don’t like the casting don’t watch the show.”


Read the original article on Business Insider