It was recently announced that Angelina Jolie has been cast to play the title role in Cleopatra. Many of us were pleased, thinking that Jolie made a great fit for the beautiful Queen of the Nile.
Not everyone is satisfied with the selection though. In a recent commentary piece on Essence.com, author Shirea Carroll complains about Jolie's casting. "Gasp, the nerve! "She's got the perfect look?" 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." Caroll continues, "Were Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry and Thandie Newton unavailable for auditions that day?"
I think the author has somewhat of a valid point in her opinion piece. White-washing is a problem in Hollywood. Just look at the recent Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prince of Persia. Umm, hello...where are the Persians??? However, do any of us really know whether or not Cleopatra was white or black? The author of the Essence post even admits, "there is no concrete confirmation that Cleopatra was of a darker complexion." If that's the case, why complain in the first place? If the Queen of the Nile's skin color can't be proved, why is it so offensive that Angelina Jolie has been cast in the role?
I'm confused. Does the author want Cleopatra to be depicted correctly in a physical sense, or does she just want a black actress to get a job?