With the documentary series “Queen Cleopatra”, produced by Jada Pinkett Smith (51), the streaming service Netflix wants to trace the significant history of the Egyptian pharaoh. The black actress Adele James was cast for this purpose – a circumstance that apparently bothers many people, especially from Egypt. The accusation: The occupation is a form of “blackwashing”, as reported by the “Daily Mail”, among other things.

The opposite is actually more common, so-called “whitewashing” – in the film business, the decision to deliberately cast a role with a white actor who should actually be embodied by a person of color (PoC). But because there is a broad consensus that Cleopatra has Macedonian-Greek origins, “Queen Cleopatra” is now the other way around, so the accusation.

According to the report, an Egyptian lawyer has already started efforts to ensure that the streaming service Netflix should no longer be made available in his country. A former minister is quoted as saying: “Netflix is ​​trying to create confusion by spreading false and misleading facts.”

In the documentary, people have their say who directly contradict this. For example, a woman says in the trailer: “I remember my grandmother once saying to me: ‘I don’t care what they teach you in school – Cleopatra was black.'”

However, the debate about Cleopatra’s skin color has not only flared up since the Netflix documentary. According to Professor Mary Lefkowitz, the origins of the idea that Cleopatra could have been a black woman can even be traced back to the 19th century. In a post about the documentary, Netflix said the casting decision was “an allusion to the centuries-old debate about the ruler’s ethnicity.” It is also claimed that nothing has been handed down about the origin of Cleopatra’s mother.

From May 10th, Netflix subscribers can see the four-part documentary series for themselves.