The Controversy Surrounding Queen Cleopatra’s Portrayal in Netflix’s Docu-Series


Netflix’s recent docu-series on Queen Cleopatra has sparked controversy and heated discussions about historical accuracy and the portrayal of race in historical narratives. While Cleopatra is widely recognized as the Queen of Egypt, there is debate about her racial identity. This article delves into the arguments presented, exploring the viewpoints surrounding the casting of a black actress as Cleopatra and the implications of race-swapping in historical representations.

Historical Accuracy and Cultural Authenticity:

One of the main points of contention revolves around historical accuracy and cultural authenticity. Critics argue that Cleopatra was of Greek descent, specifically Macedonian, and that her portrayal as a black woman in the docu-series does not align with the available historical records. They question the decision to cast a black actress, highlighting the importance of casting Egyptian or Greek actresses who would better represent Cleopatra’s cultural heritage.

Depiction of European Features:

Previous depictions of Cleopatra often portrayed her with European features, which some argue perpetuate the notion of white supremacy and Eurocentric beauty standards. However, others argue that historical accuracy should prevail over modern sensibilities and that altering Cleopatra’s appearance to fit contemporary ideas of beauty may distort the historical narrative.

Race-Swapping in Historical Depictions:

The controversy surrounding the docu-series raises questions about the practice of race-swapping in historical representations. Critics argue that if the same were done to a black historical figure, there would be widespread protests and accusations of rewriting black history. The perceived double standard of allowing race-swapping for some historical figures while denying it for others is a significant point of contention.

Diverse Perspectives:

Various individuals, including the actress portraying Cleopatra, an Egyptian comedian, and Comedy Central Africa, have expressed differing viewpoints on the issue. While the actress defends the casting decision, stating that Cleopatra’s racial identity remains uncertain, the Egyptian comedian emphasizes the erasure of Egyptian culture and the importance of accurate representation.

The Slippery Slope:

Critics argue that the casting of a black actress as Cleopatra in a docu-series blurs the line between fact and fiction. They express concerns that this decision sets a precedent, potentially allowing for similar alterations in other historical narratives. The argument suggests that the focus on racial representation should not come at the expense of historical accuracy.


The controversy surrounding Netflix’s docu-series on Queen Cleopatra brings to light the complex intersection of historical accuracy, cultural representation, and race in media. The arguments presented provide a glimpse into the passionate debate surrounding Cleopatra’s racial identity and the casting choices made for the docu-series. While opinions on this matter may vary, it is crucial to encourage respectful dialogue and consider the implications of race-swapping in historical narratives. Ultimately, finding a balance between accurate representation and inclusive storytelling remains an ongoing challenge in the entertainment industry.

Gerald Omondi
Gerald Omondi
As a writer, I have a passion for exploring a variety of topics. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of balance and finding time for the things I love. Whether I'm delving into new subjects or spending quality time with my loved ones.


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