Monday, June 21, 2010

Angelina as Cleopatra causes backlash

I was waiting for this. It is a highly emotive topic. These are just a small sample of what's landing in my inbox.

Deadbolt News

Although Angelina Jolie has amassed millions of fans and is up for the role of Cleopatra in an upcoming film about the classic Cleopatra, not everyone is onboard with Jolie possibly playing the Queen of the Nile.

According to Mail Online, some members of the African American community are questioning the move of Angelina Jolie to play Cleopatra. Instead of Jolie, some claim Cleopatra should be given to a black actress instead. An Essence Magazine online report asks the question, 'Another White Actress to Play Cleopatra?' The last non-black actress to make the Cleopatra role famous was Elizabeth Taylor in 1963.

CNN (Lisa Respers France)

The latest example is the controversy surrounding the news that Angelina Jolie has been tapped to play the Queen of the Nile in a planned film based on the forthcoming biography "Cleopatra: A Life."

A posting about the backlash on CNN's Marquee blog drew more than a thousand responses as varied as from those who argued Cleopatra was Greek and not dark-skinned to those who noted Hollywood productions are often not historically accurate.

"I believe everyone is overlooking the obvious: Cleo was NOT Egyptian, she was of Greek descent," wrote a commenter named Daniel. "Cleo was a Ptolemy and they were Greek descendents of one of Alexander's generals; they married within their own family almost to the point of inbreeding and stayed that way until Cleo's death."

A visitor to the site named Gregory took a different tack.
(Shirea L. Carroll)

Jolie, a Hollywood A-lister, will do her best in bringing the story of the famed Egyptian queen to life, and it appears no one doubts she can do it… including Pulitzer prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, who penned the biography, “Cleopatra: A Life,” a book that won’t be on shelves until the fall.

Schiff already heavily endorses Jolie, stating, “I think she’d be perfect for it and I can see a possible Oscar in her future. Physically, she’s got the perfect look.”

Gasp, the nerve! “She’s got the perfect look?” Honestly, I don’t care how full Angelina Jolie’s lips are, how many African children she adopts, or how bronzed her skin will become for the film, I firmly believe this role should have gone to a Black woman.


Anonymous said...

Cleo wasn't black anymore than Egyptians are today.

Kyle said...

I second that. She wasn't black, she was a Greek. The Ancient Egyptians weren't black either.

Scrabcake said...

If she was Egyptian, she might have been darker skinned, although I think the egyptians were (and still are) a melting pot of ethnicities--they probably ran the range from brown to black. (Therefore, neither the "egyptians were white" or "egyptians were black" factions win!)
She was not, however, an Egyptian. She was a Greek, and there were not as far as we know any Egyptian or Nubian members of her family. So, I think Angelina is fine.

Patricia in Texas said...

Yes, Cleo VII was Macedonian, though there is some evidence that her sister (half sister?) was part black. Egypt is, and always has been, part of Africa. Considering that the Pharaohs usually had multiple wives, it would not be too surprising if Cleo's sister was part African. If you look at some of the earlier Pharaoh depictions, they were more African looking, but as time went by, and people from different areas were mingled, bloodwise, they lost some of that characteristic and became a melting pot. Most Egyptians in the north today to me look Middle Eastern, but in Aswan, they are more African looking.

Andie said...

I have already moderated some comments that were very insulting to those who have commented already.

If you want to make a comment then please do so, but keep it polite and keep it relevant. Comments that don't meet both criteria will be deleted. I understand that this is an emotionally charged subject and I am happy to post all rationally expressed views. But I will not post anything that is, in my opinion, offensive.


Kyle said...

I get tired of people acting like there was no such thing as Caucasian migration. Get tired of people acting like Caucasians don't have dark complections. The Egyptians having dark skin does not rule them out as being Caucasian, being as all caucasians come from dark skin anyway, and by dark I do not mean black..I mean dark complected. North Africa was never and is not racially the same as Central and Southern Africa. Even the Ethiopians have a high caucasian admixture, somewhere around 40%.