Angelina Jolie has won the part of Cleopatra in an upcoming film and while the author of the book on which the movie is based has praised her selection, many African-Americans feel differently.
Stacy Schiff, author of “Cleopatra: A Life,” told USA Today that, “Physically, got the perfect look.” But many Black Americans are outraged that yet another White woman is set to play the Egyptian queen.
“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,” Essence magazine columnist Shirea Carroll wrote. “What’s next? A biopic on Sojourner Truth played by Betty White?”
The Queen of the Nile has already been portrayed by three White actresses: Claudette Colbert in 1934, Vivien Leigh in 1945 and Elizabeth Taylor in 1963.
Schiff reportedly endorsed Jolie for the film, which is being produced by Scott Rudin, who produced the 2008 Oscar winner for Best Picture, “No Country for Old Men.”
“I think will be perfect for it and I can see a possible Oscar in her future,” she told USA Today.
Jolie first caught heat for her portrayal of a woman of African descent in 2007, when she played Marian Pearl, wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was executed by members of the Taliban. Jolie wore dark makeup to play Pearl, who is of partial African descent.
Historians claim that not only does Jolie have the wrong skin color to accurately portray Cleopatra, but that she is too tall and skinny to reflect the true historical figure.