This cleopatra thing is fascinating to me. I think the simple response is: why are we creating more productions with ethnicities that aren’t even correctly depicting existing historical figures?
It isn’t racist to feel as though it’s time that the ethnicities that never got a chance to portray their own people, now finally have a chance. Instead, it becomes so black and white. Which is regressing back into the dual separation we claim we wish to avoid.
Equality includes all ethnicities, cultures, races and heritage. My question truly is: why not have more black culture, black historical figures and black stories? There needs to be more ethnic storytelling, instead of just replacing existing characters with different skin colors. We need the writers to come forward, and tell new stories.
We are now in an era where people could truly portray their history and culture. What if we create new stories from other cultures, historical m, non-fiction and fictional, etc. and not keep re-creating the same stories over and over with usually only two depicted ethnicities playing the same major parts?
Especially when it comes to history, we could’ve had a Greek, part Persian/Iranian woman play the role of Cleopatra. Their culture was deprived of that opportunity, to see their own people portrayed in the role. Is that fair?
“There is a general consensus among scholars that she was predominantly of Macedonian Greek ancestry and minorly of Iranian descent” Cleopatra wasn’t African, as we know. Not to mention the Egyptians had very different features than that of Africans. In fact historically they looked more middle eastern in Egypt. In their own depictions of themselves, the skin is tan, the features are more middle eastern looking, their eyes are lined with a sort of kajal (thick black eye liner which is prominent in Middle East), eyes are more almond, noses are differently shaped, lips not as full. I’ve spent much time in Egypt, seen the artifacts in person. African depictions created in Africa show very different facial features, nose shape is different, fuller lips, and so forth. This doesn’t mean they’re not of them same origin, but it does mean that we must respect the differences. It shows there is so much more in Africa and other cultures we haven’t even explored yet. We are bound by repeating the same stories. We’re so stuck in certain cultures; we aren’t exploring other ones. Nor are we respecting the cores of existing ones.
The story telling needs to expand. We’re getting lazy.
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