Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cleopatra ain't Black, Noise in Cairo, and Current Events


From Essence Blog: Another White Actress to Play Cleopatra- It seems that black folks in the U.S. are quite perturbed that Angelina Jolie has been cast as Cleopatra in the latest story of the queen's life. Debates have been raging all over the web as to why a black actress wasn't cast in the role of the "African" queen (Interestingly enough, when some name actresses they feel are more fit to play Cleopatra, only the name of mixed, light-skinned actresses like Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams come up... So much for our "African" queen) 

The notion that Cleopatra was black or African is based on no historical fact or evidence. It goes hand in hand with the attempts at historical revisionism that plagues some Afrocentrics. Cleopatra was of a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Macedonian Greeks who colonized Egypt and established themselves as Pharaohs over the people. Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII, was of clear  Greek descent and her mother is unknown. Although the Ptolemy's were fond of interbreeding to maintain their royal blood, the men did keep concubines of all ethnicities and often raised the children of those unions as their own. A BBC team found that Cleopatra's sister, Arsinoe, was half African and half Greek, likely the child of a concubine. The scientist that made this discovery neglects to identify what he means by "African", treating Africa as a monolith instead of the diverse continent that it truly is.  Also, the fact that Arsinoe and Cleopatra were only half-sisters, sharing the same father but not the same mother, was never brought up. Regardless, no evidence has surfaced as to the identity of Cleopatra's mother or her racial mixture, if any. It's possible that her mother was of black Nubian or Egyptian Arab descent and Cleopatra was half African. It's also possible that Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim and has no real Hawaiian birth certificate. Yet, with no evidence to support this and all depictions Cleopatra from her time contradicting that theory, it is more likely that Cleopatra was Ptolemaic Greek and inbred, as was the practice of the time. Thus, Angelina Jolie is just an accurate depiction of her as anyone else. Throughout history, we have our own black Queens to be proud of, no need to fight over scraps.

Excerpts from 2008 NYT article, A City Where You Can't Hear Yourself :
Noise — outrageous, unceasing, pounding noise — is the unnerving backdrop to a tense time in Egypt, as inflation and low wages have people worried about basic survival, prompting strikes and protests...This is not like London or New York, or even Tehran, another car-clogged Middle Eastern capital. It is literally like living day in and day out with a lawn mower running next to your head, according to scientists with the National Research Center. They spent five years studying noise levels across the city and concluded in a report issued this year that the average noise from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. is 85 decibels, a bit louder than a freight train 15 feet away, said Mustafa el Sayyid, an engineer who helped carry out the study.

But that 85 decibels, while “clearly unacceptable,” is only the average across the day and across the city. At other locations, it is far worse, he said. In Tahrir Square, or Ramsis Square, or the road leading to the pyramids, the noise often reaches 95 decibels, he said, which is only slightly quieter than standing next to a jackhammer.

Egypt in the News:
NYT: American Man in Limbo on No Fly List
WP: Obama is Too Friendly With Tyrants
AP: Demonstrations rock Cairo after brutal police beatingProtesters detained and released
Racioulisicious (not about Cairo, but related): Black Women, The Streets, Harrasment


Matt said...

You are missing a very important point here in this debate my friend. You neglected to mention the key argument which is infalible and flawless and that is that Angelina Jolie is hot. Check and Mate. I will accept your apology at any time. When it comes to holly wood Hotness transcends black/white, greek/african. I rest my case.

adatheraider said...

Matt.. you do have a point

adatheraider said...

More importantly Cleopatra was a trailblazer for independent women, a powerful monarch and also one of the few leaders in this period who could actually read and write. Her intelligence far outweighs her colour.. for me its her sex that defines her more than that...and lets face it.. everyone knows Cleopatra was black

Vera B. said...

Will anyone ever solve this? But considering the mindsets of Egyptians even she just might be pleased with the people who reps her in movies.

Anonymous said...

It cant' be stated with any certainty that "Cleopatra aint' black". Especially if her sister is confirmed "African". The Ptolemys though Macedonian (not Greek), intermarried heavily with the natives. As is confirmed by the case with the sister. Multi generational interbreeding very like produced someone who is "black". Her profile on the coin proves little about her skin color - as the hair and nose feature are present in many blacks. Color prejudice as we know it today did not exist in antiquity - who was royal or not or upper class or not was not anything identifiable by skin color or proscribed by skin color.
Due to her mixed ancestry and geographic local we can be fairly certain of one thing. Cleopatra was not "white" - as we think of white. Most certainly nothing like Elizabeth Taylor (Anglo saxon/scot irish) and Angelina Jolie (French, German, Slovak).
Sometimes the afrocentrist go off the deep end, but often times they have a point. Why the obsession with casting Mediterranean and African people in antiquity with Northern Europeans ??? It is done to maintain an agenda - an agenda of "White/Northern European Superiority)". - and how powerful is this false propaganda powerful that modern day Egyptians and others do anything to "whiten up" - even to the point of having their own history stolen, perverted, and fed back to them via hollywood and other media. Egyptians being potrayed bythe likes of Charlton Heston, Edward G Robinson, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weitz al.

Cleopatra may not have been black - but she certainly wasn't anything like French/German/Slovak Jolie. How about someone with a little color .....Halle Berry ?? someone maybe Meditteranean even ??

Anonymous said...

I really believe that the ignorance of Kemetic(Egyptian) culture amongst blacks and whites hampers these kinds of things. The Ptolemies embraced every facet of Kemetic culture. In order for them to legitimize their thrones, they had to marry a woman of Kemetic(Egyptian) descent from Upper Egypt. The idea that Cleopatra was a white woman is foolhardy. Cleopatra was a mulatto. Her father was Greek and her mother was AFRICAN. Period. There is no debate here. The only women in antiquity that wielded any real power were African women. Tiye, Hatshepsut, Candace(Queen) Makeda, and Nefertari..all women of pure African blood. Cleopatra is viewed as white because Julius Caesar said "She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen". The Eurocentric historians couldn't accept their "beloved" Caesar saying this about a black woman so they manipulated history as they have time and again. Cleopatra in modern times would look like Alicia Keys or Beyonce or any other light-skinned black woman. Cleopatra had the strength and fortitude of the great black Queens before and after her. Tiye, Hatshepsut, Makeda, Nzingha, Amina of Zahria, Yaa Asantewaa, and many others....

Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure. She was not of "Egyptian Arab" stock on her mother's side because they (the Arabs) did not come into that Area until the 6th century A.D.

Anonymous said... part 1 part 2

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