Netflix’s African Queens: Director Elizabeth Taylor Discusses the Documentary’s Controversy Surrounding Queen Cleopatra
Netflix’s documentary “African Queens” has been making headlines as of late, with much of the conversation centered around the portrayal of Queen Cleopatra. Director Elizabeth Taylor recently sat down to discuss the controversy surrounding the documentary and how she came to realize what a political act it would be to cast a black actress as the famous queen.
Taylor stated that when she first began working on the project, she had assumed that the role of Cleopatra would be played by a white actress. However, upon further reflection and conversation with her team, she recognized the importance of casting a black actress for the part.
“It was a political decision,” Taylor admitted. “We realized that the portrayal of Cleopatra by a black actress would be a powerful statement on representation and inclusivity.”
Despite this, Taylor acknowledged that the decision has been met with its fair share of criticism.
“There are some who feel that we are rewriting history by casting a black woman as Cleopatra,” she said. “But the reality is that there is no evidence to suggest that Cleopatra was not of African descent. And regardless of her race, Cleopatra’s story is one that has stood the test of time.”
Taylor went on to explain that the process of casting the role of Cleopatra was a long and difficult one. “We wanted to find the right actress who could capture the essence of Cleopatra and do justice to her story,” she said.
In the end, the role went to British actress Cynthia Erivo, known for her work in films such as “Harriet” and “Widows”. Erivo has been praised for her performance, with many critics noting that she brings a depth and complexity to the role that is often lacking in previous portrayals of the queen.
Despite the success of Erivo’s performance, the controversy surrounding the documentary continues to rage on, with some citing the decision to cast a black actress as yet another example of “woke culture” gone too far. However, Taylor remains steadfast in her belief that the decision was the right one for the film.
“At the end of the day, we are telling a story about one of the most iconic figures in history,” she said. “And that story should be told in a way that reflects the diversity of our world today. I am proud of what we have accomplished with this film, and I hope that it will inspire more conversations about the importance of representation and inclusivity in the entertainment industry.”
The Importance of Representation and Inclusivity in the Entertainment Industry
The controversy surrounding “African Queens” and the casting of a black actress as Cleopatra highlights a larger issue within the entertainment industry: the lack of representation and inclusivity for underrepresented groups.
For decades, Hollywood has been criticized for its lack of diversity, with many arguing that the industry is dominated by white voices and perspectives. This has led to a dearth of roles for minority actors and actresses, as well as a lack of diverse stories being told on the big screen.
However, in recent years there has been a push for greater representation and inclusivity within the industry. From films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” to television shows like “Pose” and “Never Have I Ever”, there is hope that the industry is moving towards a more diverse future.
But as the controversy surrounding “African Queens” demonstrates, this push for inclusivity has not been met without resistance. There are still many who dismiss efforts to diversify the industry as “political correctness” or “reversing discrimination”.
However, as Taylor points out, the reality is that representation and inclusivity are crucial for telling a more accurate and inclusive version of our shared history. “African Queens” is just one example of how casting choices can be used to challenge our preconceived notions about race and gender.
Ultimately, the success of films like “African Queens” and the push for greater representation and inclusivity will require a continued commitment from both filmmakers and audiences alike. By demanding more diverse stories and more accurately representative casting, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable entertainment industry for all.