Queen Cleopatra Actress Adele James Responds To Claims Of Blackwashing

Adele James as Queen Cleopatra
Adele James as Queen Cleopatra

Adele James is a notable British actress and screenwriter of African ancestry. She has directed some noteworthy short films like ‘The Last Call’ and is best known for starring in series like ‘Casualty’ and ‘Queen Cleopatra’.

Currently, the actress is facing a lot of scrutiny for her role in the latest Netflix creation ‘Queen Cleopatra’. This article examines her controversial casting in the series and how did Adele respond to all the ongoing criticisms about her.

What Role Does Adele James Portray In ‘Queen Cleopatra’?

‘Queen Cleopatra’ is the second season of the acclaimed Netflix docuseries called ‘African Queens’ that focuses on bringing the stories of the few brave queens of Africa to life. The series is executively produced and narrated by the influential American personality Jada Pinkett Smith.

‘Queen Cleopatra’ fleshes out the historical story of the last legendary pharaoh of Egypt in Africa called Queen Cleopatra. It is an adventurous journey for viewers to embark on as they get to visually transport to hundreds of years ago and witness the grandiosity of Cleopatra as she rose to power and her struggle to keep her family, kingdom, and position of Queen, intact.

Actress Adele James brings the historical narration to life with her phenomenal acting as Queen Cleopatra in the series. But, the said role also landed her amidst public scrutiny and controversy along with everyone involved in the creation of the series for casting a black woman as the most famous African queen.

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How Did Adele Respond To Accusations Of Blackwashing The Historical Docuseries?

All over the globe, a majority of historians believe that Queen Cleopatra was of Greek ancestry and a fair-skinned queen. Even the people of Egypt are of the same notion. The Netflix series is however a believer that Cleopatra was not of completely white ancestry but rather a mix of black as well.

The portrayal of Queen Cleopatra by a black actress called Adele James has involved the Ministry of Antiques of Egypt which has criticized Netflix for mocking and distorting their ancient culture and history by blackwashing the fair-skinned queen Cleopatra.

In an episode of ‘The Wayne Ayers Podcast’, the Cleopatra actress Adele had the following to say in her response to accusations of blackwashing,  “Blackwashing isn’t a thing, is it?… I find it sad that people are either so self-loathing or so threatened by Blackness that they feel the need to separate Egypt from the rest of the continent… it’s a really big question mark, was she mixed race, was she not? She wasn’t Black, we know that, but she might have been part Black, absolutely…”

Critics are however claiming that the accusations are nothing to do with racism but rather, assert the fact that documentaries should portray the truth and historical norms of the subject in question.

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