For Millennials. By Millennials.
Recently, the internet was ablaze with the news of a new Cleopatra movie coming up. Rumors were flying around that the choices made by Hollywood for the role were Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga. Many did not favor that choice because even though people are still unclear on Cleopatra’s true ethnicity, it’s guaranteed that she was not white. So, dear Hollywood, make sure you make the right choice to prevent another case of whitewashing.
History of Whitewashed Cleopatra
Previously, we’ve seen white actresses playing the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Notable examples are Vivien Leigh in 1945’s Caesar and Cleopatra, Claudette Colbert in 1934’s Cleopatra, and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 version of the movie. A mere makeup look with the famous dark eyeliner and the dark, lush black wig was the go-to to turn white actresses into Egyptians. Of course, such a move would not be readily accepted by anyone in today’s Hollywood.
Cleopatra Wasn’t White, Hollywood
Now, we’re living in a politically woke environment in the entertainment industry. It forced Kevin Hart to quit his job of hosting the Oscars due to old homophobic tweets. For their racist remarks, James Gunn got fired from his directing gig in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Roseanne Barr lost her sitcom, Roseanne. Even Emma Stone is apologetic for her role in Aloha as an Asian woman.
And look, no one denies the impeccable acting talents of both Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie. We’re requesting that we need a woman of color to play the famous Queen.
Though, a Greek ethnicity was assigned to the Macedonian ruler. Recent reports suggest that after examining Cleopatra’s sister, Arsinoe’s remains, their mother was likely African. Do you know what that means, Hollywood? It means Halle Barry and Rihanna are excellent choices to be looking at for casting.
Hollywood needs to let go of whitewashing practices once and for all. And do justice to the heroic character Cleopatra.
The Wonder that was Cleopatra
To put it simply, Cleopatra was one badass woman. She was not only a diplomat, but a medical author, linguist, and naval commander. She was one of the first of her people to learn Egyptian. People might believe that she was a seductress that used to manipulate men’s sexual desires for her own political motives. But that’s incorrect.
She was known for her political dealings, but that’s because of her intellect. More evidence suggests that she wasn’t as attractive as we make her out to be.
Cleopatra, the Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt, knew not only a dozen different languages but also mathematics. Even more, she was knowledgeable on the subjects of philosophy and astronomy. Overall, she had an irresistible charming personality that could convince anyone of whatever she wanted to do.
No wonder why this queen has become a pop culture icon and gained representation in numerous movies and TV Shows. So, it would be a massive deal if an actual woman of color landed a leading role as the Egyptian Queen. Apart from Rihanna and Halle Barry, we also have Priyanka Chopra, Jameela Jamil, Nasim Pedrad, Frida Pinto, and Lupita Nyong’o!
Hence dear Hollywood, please do not make Cleopatra white again. We adore Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie, but a woman of color needs to play her this time. And Lord knows that we’ve been gifted with many talented actresses of color.