1) " THE WHITE NEFERTITI TROLL " by Tristan Samuels

     The Travel Channel's   "  Expedition Unknown " program recently showed a facial reconstruction of a Kemetiu (ancient Egyptian) woman,  " the younger lady ", whose mummy is though to be the Kemetiu queen Nefertiti. The reconstruction depicts the woman as if she were European. In response to the reconstruction and the controversy surrounding it, Raymond Johnson, director of the Epigraphic Survey project and Research Associate and Associate Professor at the University of Chicago in the Near Eastern Languges and Civilizations Department, claimed that Kemet was mix of African and European peoples. It is rather perplexing that a culture and civilization which emerged in the African continent is still classified as anything-but-African. It seems that it is impossible for the mainstream media and the academy to stop whitewashing Kemet (ancient Egypt). Thisreconstruction has no phenotypic commonalities with any know depictions of Nefertiti. The famous bust in the Berlin Museum is the closest, but it cannot be taken seriously as a legitimate depiction of Nefertiti. The Berlin bust's context is ambiguous and futhermore, it does not match any conventions in Kemetic art, including those of the Amarna period which is the time of Nefertiti. So it appears thatit is indeed a fake. It is rather perplexing  and unfortunate that the images that definitively depict Nefertiti are not as widely publicized as the Berlin bust. It is certainly true that the Kemetiu used various visual conventions in their depictions of themselves, but they consistently depicted themselves in the phenotypic range that we see among African people today in the continent and the diaspora. Amarna period art is a prime example. African intellectuals, since the 19th century, have addressed the issue of race, culture and identity of the Kemetiu from and eye testimonies from contemporary peoples, most notably the ancient Greeks. Also we have always brought forth ground breaking analysis, such as Cheikh Anta Diop's cultural analyses and bio-anthropologist Shomarka Keita's work work on African biodiversity. In and out of academic spaces, African people have always pointed out the racist dislocation of Kemet from Africa. This is also seen today in social media by various hashtags and the resulting boycotts of films like  " Gods of Egyp and Exodus  : Gods and Kings " which whitewash Kemet. So, at this point, it seems that this white Nefertiti fiasco is mainstream media trolling African people.



      On Wednesday February 7, 2018, the popular morning show Today on ABC unveiled a modern reconstruction of Queen Nfr.t-jti (Nefertiti : 18 th Egyptian Dynasty), the mother of Twt-anx-jmn (Tutankhamen). Using a combination of preserved remains, modern technology, and artistic mastery, a team lead by Expedition Unknown's Josh Gates reconstructed the face of this famous Queen and the result are controversial (to say the lead). Instead of something similar to what we see along the Egyptian walls of ancient times, we get a totally different rendition of what the Queen is  " supposed " to look like. While the actual eyewitnesses to Queen Nefertiti's appearance depicted her with very brown skin and prominent African bodily features (e.g full lips), Gates' team instead opted for a slightly tanned white skin-tone with blue eyes for Nefertiti ; a set of phenotypic features commonly associated with Europeans. One wonders why was it even necessary to do a facial reconstruction of Nefertiti if there is an abundance of artifacts depicting the Queen from the time period in which she lived ? When we compare the  " scientific reconstruction " to the extant images of Nefertiti, we do not find a close resemblance at all. Take, for example, the following image. This sandstone slab of Queen Nefertiti (XVIII Dynasty, New kingdom:ca 1352-1348 BC) is currently housed in the Brooklyn Museum (access 78.39). We first notice the strong cheek bones and the prognathism of the jaw. These are evolutionary features typical of Nilotic people in East Africa. Secondly, we notice the brown paint used to depict her skin color. Neither of these features is present in the reconstruction of Gate's team.Lastly, the quality of the hair depicted (believed to be a blue wig) shows a coarseness typical of African people in this region.We are to believe that somehow Europeans from 2018 know more about how Nefertiti looked than the Egyptians who were in her presence when she was living. As if to anticipate this debacle, to ensure that future generations would know that Nefertiti was indeed a  " sista " the Egyptian sculptures left us another clue that undoubtedly ends the argument.