by G. Brown
Amidst much fanfare, NBC unveiled a reconstructed bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. The problem is, the bust could be of Elizabeth Taylor or Taylor Swift. Just pick any woman who is not of color or has features similar to women of African descent.
The group-“Expedition Unknown’s” made up of a team of historians and artists to recreate what they consider an accurate rendering of Queen Nefertiti. The group used a combination of modern technology, preserved remains and creative imagination for the effigy. Previous renderings looked something like this…
But the newest sculpture doesn’t resemble most of the previous depictions which promulgated more ethnic facial features of the Queen’s lips, eyes and nose. Instead the newest unveiling has more European features including a lighter skin complexion.
The unveiling by NBC News unveiled a lot of angry reactions on Twitter.
Many people responded that this is just another attempt to white wash not only history. Queen Nefertiti was one of the most famous Egyptian royals even though her rule was considered brief after her husband died. Alongside her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten, the power couple guided the culture during one of its wealthiest periods in history. Among her many titles were Great King’s Wife, Lady of all Women and Lady of Grace. Also known as the “Great Royal Wife” a title that represented the power she wielded in governing. One of the most famous artistic works to capture her likeness is this bust that is said to exemplify the realistic facial proportions of Ancient Egyptians.
The anger from people on Twitter stems from several places. Bestowing more Caucasian features on this latest rendering attempts to erase the true origins of Nefertiti much like Hollywood did with it versions of Cleopatra the most famous portrayal of which was Elizabeth Taylor.
It’s white washing history by presenting false images of real life historical figures. The most famous example of course are all those blue-eyed, blond, straight-haired pictures of Jesus hanging in your grandma’s living room.
The second biggest gripe in the comment section was the team that created the bust had the audacity to parade what many consider a miscarriage of history during Black History month. If they wanted to hear truthful feedback from the Black community, they picked the right time–a month when people are celebrating Black heritage and history guarantees people are watching.
A round of applause to all the people who were quick to call out what good easily become another historical error.