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Controversy Stirs Over Queen Nefertiti Bust

The+bust+of+Queen+Nefertiti+which+was+revealed+on+The+Today+Show+on+Feb.+5%2C+2018.
The bust of Queen Nefertiti which was revealed on The Today Show on Feb. 5, 2018.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti which was revealed on The Today Show on Feb. 5, 2018.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti which was revealed on The Today Show on Feb. 5, 2018.

Egan Ward, Journalism 1 Reporter

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On Monday, February 5th, ‘The Today Show’ unveiled the new Queen Nefertiti bust live on television, and it’s laughable portrayal of one of the most powerful women in ancient Egypt’s skin color has been stirring up controversy throughout social media. The new bust of King Tut’s mother, Queen Nefertiti was made with new 3-D scanning technology to create a more realistic and lifelike version of the mysterious Queen. Undoubtedly realistic with its great attention to detail on the Queen’s facial structure, the atrocious choice of skin color is the only thing to debate about. No one knows yet for sure the exact skin tone on ancient Egyptians, but by now it should be common knowledge that these Sub-Saharan, African rulers were not caucasian and it is utterly disrespectful to portray one of their most famous figures as such.

When the shocking bust was revealed many, including myself, were appalled. White-washing (the tendency of media to be dominated by white characters, and often change things and people that are not white, and make them white to relate to a white audience) is a problem as old as time, most notably in Hollywood, and it does not seem to be stopping anytime soon with blasphemous things like this going on. This isn’t just some fantasy character somebody happened to make Egyptian with no thought to it; this is one of Egypt’s most powerful and most sacred figures. Changing the skin color of a statue may seem trivial and a stupid thing to get upset about, but tell that to a person of color whose race/ethnicity is constantly getting turned to white.

The original bust of Queen Nefertiti crafted in 1345 B.C. is one of the most famous and exquisite sculptors ever made, but the modern generation wanted a more lifelike, genuine portrayal of what the mysterious figure actually looked like. A mummy was found of the Queen in 1898 and that mummy allowed a team of scientists to use 3-D imaging technology to map the face of the mummy known as “The Younger Lady”. Though, the 3-D scanning only allowed the team to do so much, “The 3-D imaging was only able to copy the mummy’s facial structure, other features such as skin and eye color were up to artist interpretation. Many soon took to Twitter in anger over the artist’s decision to make Nefertiti so fair-skinned” (Dana Dovey in “Ancient Egypt: Mummy of Queen Nefertiti Brought to Life With Controversial Fair Skin in 3-D Scan”). This disproves any accusations that the bust’s skin color is a fact and was able to be proven by the imagining technology, because that is false; the choice of skin color [and tone] was left completely up to artist Josh Gates and his team.

No one knows the true skin color of the ancient Egyptians due to the lack of technology and the decomposition of mummies, but extensive research has been done and scientists may have an idea of what skin color these mysterious figures were; “The study found that ancient Egyptians were most closely related to ancient populations in the Levant (modern day Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon), and were also closely related to Neolithic populations from the Anatolian Peninsula and Europe” (from article “Ancient Egyptian DNA analysis reveals THIS about their genetics”). It is clear that artist Josh Gates did not do proper research when tackling the task of recreating one of Egypt’s most powerful figures, and it is simply disrespectful to anybody of Egyptian descent because they now have to suffer through another case of white-washing one of their most sacred figures. So I recommend that next time somebody wants to undertake the task of representing another’s culture, they do the proper research and avoid offending an entire history of people.

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Controversy Stirs Over Queen Nefertiti Bust