Race analyzed and then erased
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 05/19/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In this documentary, interviewees say two things. First, they say Solomon and Sheba were different races from each other. Second, a man says racial tensions didn't exist back then as we would know them now. Fair enough, very realistic!
However, the actors that they had play Solomon and Sheba seemed to be of the same race. The medieval and Renaissance paintings they showed have the couple being the same race. The cover of the DVD shows them being of the same race. This is ludicrous. If I remember correctly, Sheba says in the Bible, "I am black and comely." Today, Arabs look different from Ethiopians. In the documentary "Falasha." they show an ancient Ethiopian drawing where clearly Solomon is white and Sheba is black. In a recent movie, Vivica Fox, an African-American actress, played Sheba and Ben Cross, a Caucasian male, played Solomon. I think this documentary did not want to show an interracial couple because of prejudice out there. Like many Biography episodes, this plays it safe. Just as Othello is usally played by a black man or someone darker than other Shakespearean characters, Sheba should have been shown as black here. I guess that kiss between Captain Kirk and Uhura is both in the past and still relevant today.
This documentary has interviewees that are male and female; Christian and Jewish. However and disappointingly, no Blacks, whether African-American or Ethiopian, were interviewed. Sheba isn't brought up until midway into the work, a possibly androcentric feature of the work. Maybe they should have just dedicated this to Solomon then. Unlike other Biography pieces, the narrator doesn't appear at the beginning or ending."