Egypt Goes Hard Over Denial Of Afrocentric Portrayal Of ‘Kemet’ Exhibit, Says Dutch Museum Is ‘Falsifying History’

Egypt Goes Hard Over Denial Of Afrocentric Portrayal Of ‘Kemet’ Exhibit, Says Dutch Museum Is ‘Falsifying History’

Things recently turned dark for Dutch archaeologists portraying Egypt from an “Afrocentric” perspective.

CNN reported that Egypt has banned Dutch archaeologists at the Leiden National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in the Netherlands from excavating its Saqqara necropolis, after nearly 50 years of allowing them.

The ban came about after the museum launched its exhibit “Kemet. Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk.” The chief of foreign missions for the Egyptian Antiquities Service said in an email to the museum that it was “falsifying history” and that the “Afrocentric” portrayal of the exhibit was not an accurate representation of Egypt’s history, TheGrio reported. Some Egyptians took to social media to scorn artwork from the exhibit, saying it made a point to emphasize light skin tones.

In a statement on its website, the Dutch museum acknowledged that while “There has been commotion in the (social) media about the exhibition ‘Kemet. Egypt in hip-hop, jazz, soul & funk,'” it stood by its work. The statement continued, “The museum has worked long and carefully on this exhibition with many external advisers, and fully endorses its content.”

The museum’s website says the exhibition “explores music by Black artists whose work refers to ancient Egypt and Nubia,” elaborating, “This music often reflects on experiences of Black people in the West and tells stories about the African diaspora and pre-colonial Africa, including ancient Egypt as part of the African continent.”

The debate over whether ancient Egyptians were Black has long been disputed. Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra sparked controversy when an actress of color, Adele James, was cast as the lead, Forbes reported. Persian director Tina Gharavi said via Variety, “I realized what a political act it would be to see Cleopatra portrayed by a Black actress. For me, the idea that people had gotten it so incredibly wrong before — historically, from Theda Bara to Monica Bellucci, and recently, with Angelina Jolie and Gal Gadot in the running to play her — meant we had to get it even more right.” The four-part documentary was produced and narrated by Jada Pinkett Smith.