Netflix’s ‘Cleopatra’ Is a Historical Revisionist Queen of Denial
In what is undoubtedly a far better contribution to the historical record than the program itself, Netflix’s new four-part Cleopatra documentary miniseries has achieved the dubious honor of receiving what is quite likely the lowest audience approval ratings in TV history.
“Queen Cleopatra” currently sits at a dismal 2% audience approval on the popular review site Rotten Tomatoes, with the critical reviews not much better at 10%.
At the center of the sandstorm buffeting the docuseries from Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith are questions regarding Cleopatra’s ethnic background.
In what can only be described as a botched attempt at rewriting history, the program claims that Cleopatra was black, and that the commonly accepted notion she was Greek is based on lies.
In the words of one woman from the series’ trailer, “I remember my grandmother saying to me: ‘I don’t care what they tell you in school. Cleopatra was black.’”
That sentiment is echoed by many of the supposedly great minds on the radical Left, who see nothing wrong with distorting the historical record in the name of social justice.
An article in The New York Times, “Fear of a Black Cleopatra,” makes the questionable claim that while Cleopatra maybe wasn’t genetically black, she was “culturally black.”
Quoting Shelley Haley, a professor emeritus in Africana studies and classics, who should probably have her doctorate revoked, the article asserts:
When we say, in general, that the ancient Egyptians were black and, more specifically, that Cleopatra was black, we claim them as part of a culture and history that has known oppression and triumph, exploitation and survival.
By this logic, the Irish must be black, too, because they also experienced oppression and triumph, exploitation and survival. It brings a whole new meaning to the term “Black Irish,” I suppose.
Of course, this all assumes the global history of black people must be boiled down to oppression and struggle, as though black history began and ended with chattel slavery in America.
That’s the political message that the radical Left has decided to push.
And it is political. Tina Gharavi, the director of “Queen Cleopatra,” admitted as much in an article she wrote for Variety, in which she writes she realized “what a political act it would be to see Cleopatra portrayed by a black actress.”
It’s an absolutely bizarre perspective that history must be corrupted in order to create stories featuring black people. It’s far more racist than almost anything else to assert, indirectly or otherwise, that black history is nonexistent and must be stolen from others.
There are endless examples of stories featuring black people from Africa to America to Japan that are begging to be told.
Is the story of Mansa Musa, said to have been the richest man in the history of the world, not worth telling? His journey through North Africa to reach Mecca in modern-day Saudi Arabia threw the economy of each place he visited into chaos as a result of his unfathomable spending.
How about the story of Robert Smalls, a slave who stole a Confederate warship, sailed to freedom, fought in the Civil War, then became a congressman. It’s an actual, genuine black story that’s criminally undertold and a story of American exceptionalism to boot.
Seems like the perfect subject of a Netflix series. Instead, all we get is politically motivated and ahistorical dreck.
In what seems to be a rare win for truth, Netflix has a pyramid-shaped black eye as a result of the miniseries.
Netflix should take this pharaonic failure and reflect on how to actually depict history. Should accuracy and truth be pushed to the side in the name of politics? Of course not.
What’s clear is that “Queen Cleopatra” should be lost to the sands of time, like ruins never again to see the light of day.
Anyone got a sarcophagus we can borrow?