A documentary on the life and tumultuous times of Queen Cleopatra is on the horizon for Netflix with the planned docuseries veering from accepted historical wisdom by changing the subject’s ethnicity. The documentary appears to propose the case Cleopatra was a black woman with several of the commentators featured in the film arguing Cleopatra could potentially be of African descent instead of Greek.
Queen Cleopatra, produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, details her life as a “warrior” and a ruler of “unparalleled power,” according to the trailer:
“It’s possible that she was an Egyptian,” one commentator in the documentary said.
“I imagine her to have curly hair like me and a similar skin color,” another concurred.
“I remember my grandmother saying to me, ‘I don’t care what they tell you in school, Cleopatra was black,’” yet another commentator added.
Promotional material ahead of the project’s completion also nods to the change in ethnicity.
From Executive Producer @jadapsmith comes a new docuseries exploring the lives of iconic African queens.
QUEEN CLEOPATRA follows the story of Cleopatra, one of the world’s most famous and misunderstood woman.
QUEEN CLEOPATRA is available to stream May 10 only on Netflix pic.twitter.com/0oDUSi8Add
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) April 12, 2023
The Daily Caller has documented dissenting voices that question the proposition Queen Cleopatra had African descent.
“Cleopatra VII was white—of Macedonian descent, as were all of the Ptolemy rulers, who lived in Egypt,” Kathryn Bard, professor of archaeology and classical studies at Boston University, said as Newsweek reported, according to the outlet.
“We know who her father was,” Gerald Kadish, teaching professor emeritus of history and Near Eastern studies at Binghamton University is also quoted as saying.
“He was certainly not Black. None of her siblings [were] anything but Greco-Macedonian.”
Kadish, however, acknowledged potential debate over her mother’s origins.