June 17th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Backlash over Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra

The author of the biography "Cleopatra: A Life" may be hailing Angelina Jolie as the perfect choice to play the queen, but some folks aren't so sure.

On African American blogs and message boards, people are speaking out against the casting of Jolie in a role they believe should go to an actress of color.

Essence.com recently featured a commentary titled, "Another White Actress to Play Cleopatra?" where the writer opined, "Honestly, I don't care how full Angelina Jolie's lips are, how many African children she adopts, or how bronzed her skin will become for the film, I firmly believe this role should have gone to a Black woman."

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soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Salt Pepper

    Too much of either salt or pepper is not good for you. Take consumption in moderation.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • shanai twin


      June 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bjrb

    I believe the same, that a Black Woman or Mixed Woman should play the part, I am an aspiring actress and would have loved the opportunity to play this role, I think I would have been the perfect person.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cleopatra was Macedonian and Macedonians are NOT black

      I am an aspiring actress too and I am Macedonian. I think I should have been given preference over you, since I am from the same place that Cleopatra came from. Oh and I have blue eyes. And light hair. And light skin. I'm white...just like Cleopatra was. If there's going to be a specific ethnic group or race that is given preference for this role it would have been the Macedonians...and after that....the white race.

      A great actress is also educated. I think you need to read some history books and stop being so ignorant. Otherwise you won't make it very far.

      June 18, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lpais

    Ashwariya Rai would be the perfect Cleopatra.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. grumpy

    When you consider the Romans of the times referred to her being Greek and never mentioned she was black.
    When you look at all the depictions of her at the time, making her look Greek/White, why would revisionists
    demand that the ruling class of ancient Egypt look just like the working class?
    Sorry if Cleopatra was Black, the Romans would have discribed her that way, and the artists of the time would
    have made statues and busts that way.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. imjustsayin...

    Who cares who plays cleo? Jolie is gonna sell tickets its about money. Put that Precious girl in their and nobodys buying...

    June 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas

      LOL.....This was the best and most educated point of them all. It is the truth. You for President.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mahdeealoo

    Someone younger needs this role. She's too old now, sorry. Also someone who is more exotic looking would fill the bill – you can always ad contacts and body makeup. Besides it's easier to make an actress look older but not younger. If they portray Cleopatra with Marc Antony, she was 21 when they met. AJ is pushing 40.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carla

    Cleopatra was Macedonian. Hence she was white.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Exactly. People tend to forget that Africa is a racially mixed continent. I'm surprised that this is even an issue.

      June 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Smith

    It would seem that someone missed the part of the story that said that Angelina Jolie is an actress.

    If the CIA was looking to find someone to impersonate Cleopatra so they could replace the real one with a fake one, then I could see the problem. Seeing as no one knows what Cleopatra actually looked like and she's been dead for a few thousand years and this is all about a movie role that will be acted in by an actress who's job/art is to act, I don't see a problem with the casting.

    I do see a slight problem with the writer from Essence who seems to think that movies are real life and all actors in every thing acted in needs to conform to her view of how things should be.

    It's kind of stupid.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lilith

    I'm so sick of everyone of "color" making color an issue in everything. As others have state before, Cleopatra was Macedonian aka Greco-Roman. But for those who want a black woman to play her, go make your own d@mn movie. A little history lesson for the all the igmos being raised in America:


    June 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. EMILIE

    This is silly.
    Complaining that she should be black is just as obnoxious as complaining that she should be white.

    She's an amazing actress.
    She isn't white or black in my oppion, screw COLOR.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • shanai twin

      Thank God for a voice of sanity. Screw you color-obsessed people, let the rest of us know when you are ready to join the human race without a giant chip on your shoulder.

      June 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Charlie

    Cleopatra was of the Ptolemy line. There is a coin that supposedly depicts her profile - a woman with a hooked nose and pointed chin. She was noted for her wit and intelligence that would stand out in a Roman culture where women were subservient. Ravishing beauty was much attributed later. I believe the confusion might arise with a more likely beauty - the Queen of Sheba from Ethiopia and Yeman who visited King Solomon, brought him four tons of gold, tested his reputation for wisdom, and possibly carried his unborn son back to Ethiopia. She may have been the love object in "The Song of Solomon" since there are elements suggesting the woman is black.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wise Woman Speaking

    I remember when they did a TV show about Madame Curie, who was POLISH, but married a French man. The entire show about her had her character speaking English in a French accent, as though she was French and not Polish. Just because you marry a French man doesn't make you start speaking English with a French accent! I still don't know how those TV writers, directors and producers could have gotten it so wrong and insulting to Polish people everywhere.

    June 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NIkko

    The fact that Cleo was greek, who cares? Angie is hot as they come and a decent actor. She'll do a great job.

    June 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SK

    The author for that Essence article should do some research before making such ridiculous claims. Cleopatra was Greek, not Egyptian or African. Her family was endogamous so her Greek heritage would have been pretty well preserved, despite her family being in Egypt for 300 years. My problem with casting Jolie in this role is she is boring and dumb as a post, unlike Cleopatra was known to be.

    June 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Without genetic proof to the contrary, I must believe that Cleopatra's heredity was likely more Greek than not.
    If Angelina Jolie can pull the assignment, her appearance and build would be much more believeable than Elizabeth Taylor's. Those insisting insisting an AA woman to pursue the part, why not Arabic, or some other nationality?
    Its all irrelevant anyway, what some people tend to forget is that what is being discussed here is only a PART IN A MOVIE, not something to take political issue with either way.

    June 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
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