Did you know that the pharaohs who resided in the Valley of the Kings actually suffered from a body-swelling malady known as elephantiasis disease?
That’s the strange rumor some misguided scholars have been circulating for years. They rely on it to explain why the dark-hued people dwelling in a land once known as Kemet drew pictures, molded statues and created hieroglyphic images of themselves with “exaggerated features.”
Their absurd reasoning is exhausting and, frankly, not worthy of debate. But, in light of the recent Cleopatra controversy, I’m jumping into the discussion anyway.
For the record, I’m not an expert on ancient civilizations. However, I made a pilgrimage to Egypt years ago and my eyes cannot deny what I saw.
- I observed nappy dreadlocks cut from the heads of mummies. (They were behind glass in the museum in Cairo where no photos are allowed.)
- I stared at midnight black stone figurines carved in the image of African warriors.
- I gazed at the mighty Sphinx and other defaced monuments whose blatantly Negroid noses were missing (allegedly shot off by Napolean’s army).
- I beheld the sarcophagus of the handsome King Tut who, clearly, was a brother. Look at the image below and check out the trademark full lips of a black man.
Contemporary Egyptians can argue all they want. They can conjure up one ridiculous explanation after another. Still, facts are facts. Egypt is located in Africa. The Arab invasion occurred in 639 AD (more than two thousand years after the pyramids were constructed). And, according to historians, there is a genealogic connection between the native people of Ethiopia and Greece — the land that has been claimed as the birthplace of Cleopatra.
I could ask why none of this seemed to matter when Elizabeth Taylor starred as Cleopatra in 1963. I could wonder about all the blonde, blue-eyed thespians cast as Jesus Christ. I could inquire why race only becomes an issue when it’s announced that a Black actor or actress is assuming a cherished role.
I could ask why a lawsuit is being filed against Netflix for its upcoming series featuring a woman of color as Queen of the Nile. Yes, I could ask these questions, but I won’t.
I already know the answer.