//Skip to content

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra Documentary: Accurate Depiction or Hollywood Drama?

May 22, 2023

As Jada Pinkett-Smith’s voice floats in the background of a succession of images representing historical figure Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, viewers are introduced to the queen’s story in a sequence of scenes brimming with a dramatic undertone. Professor Shelley P.Haley, the first interviewee, then sets the tone for the rest of the documentary by sharing an anecdote from her schoolgirl days when her mother told her not to believe what she was told at school, and that Cleopatra was actually black. The rest of the documentary goes on to reiterate that statement in more subtle ways — it almost becomes an underlying theme to the narrative with disproportionate weight consistently placed on the queen’s appearance, rather than focusing on her achievements. Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra is a documentary made of four episodes that is part of a larger series, African Queens, which aims to celebrate prominent historical women in African history. Produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Cleopatra gives audiences a glimpse into the life of the Ptolemaic ruler through enactments and expert interviews. The documentary which was released on 10 May, 2023 sees biracial British actress, Adele James, play the…

Hi guest,

You've read all of your free articles.
Subscribe now to support independent journalism and to enjoy:

Unlimited access to all our articles

Exclusive events and offers

First access to new premium newsletters

Ability to comment on articles

Full user profile