Egyptians Accuse Netflix of ‘Blackwashing’ Queen Cleopatra In Docuseries, ‘She Was Light-Skinned, Not Black’

Egyptians Accuse Netflix of ‘Blackwashing’ Queen Cleopatra In Docuseries, ‘She Was Light-Skinned, Not Black’

Egyptian authorities are calling out Netflix for allegedly “blackwashing” Queen Cleopatra in Jada Pinkett Smith’s new docuseries.

Egyptologist and archaeologist Zahi Hawass and other Egyptians have been speaking out about the “completely fake” portrayal of Queen Cleopatra in African Queens: Queen Cleopatra,BBC reports. A legal complaint was filed in the wake of the trailer that was released last week over the claims that Netflix is seemingly trying to “blackwash” Egyptian history.

“Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black,” Hawass said on Wednesday.

“Netflix is trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is Black.”

In the docuseries, narrated and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, Cleopatra is played by British biracial actress Adele James, 27. In February, Netflix claimed the decision to cast James served as “a nod to the centuries-long conversation about the ruler’s race.”

Pinkett Smith said she “really wanted to represent Black women” in her new series. The first season of “African Queens” traced the rise and reign of Queen Njinga of Angola.

“We don’t often get to see or hear stories about black queens,” Pinkett explained.”

“And that was really important for me, as well as for my daughter, and just for my community to be able to know those stories because there are tons of them!” said Pinkett Smith.

But Hawass and other Egyptian authorities are attempting to block Netflix from releasing the new docuseries. On Sunday, lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary filed a complaint with the public prosecutor demanding “the necessary legal measures” be taken to block access to Netflix’s services in Egypt.

Al-Semary accuses Netflix of violating Egypt’s media laws by trying to “promote the Afrocentric thinking… which includes slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing the Egyptian identity.”

Meanwhile, the series producer reminds the public that Cleopatra’s “heritage is highly debated,” and James shut down the critics, saying, “If you don’t like the casting, don’t watch the show.”