Queen of the Nile

More
kpq_cleopatra.jpg

If you remember this picture, then you are, indeed, truly hood. This is Cleopatra, as countless black kids in schools across the country knew her. This is image was brought to us by the oddest alliance of all time--black nationalism and beer

Anyway, Alyssa yawns at the casting of Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra. Jezebel highlights a few problems, among them, the suspicion that Cleopatra was not "white." 


A couple of thoughts. It's worth exercising some care into reading America's very specific black/white dynamic out into history, and indeed out into the rest of the world. That said, the  racial dynamics of this country affect who gets work in Hollywood, and who doesn't. Business is a lot better than it was thirty years ago, but particularly with black women, it isn't very good. 

With that in mind, I don't think the problem here is that Angelina Jolie plays a women--in the very limited context of America--might not be seen as white. The problem is that my sense is that there really aren't many nonwhite women even in the discussions. Thus my questions would not so much be for the casting directors, but for the business as a whole, and for the people who support the business.

It's also mildly humorous that we're debating something that the actual Egyptians cared very little about, or rather didn't care about in the same way. America's Black/White split is an invention. Still, any day I get to remember Cleopatra as rendered in my Baltimore elementary school is a good day.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In