Note from BW of Brazil: The celebrations of observations of the Month of Black Consciousness are in full swing in Brazil! It is in this month that the experiences, contributions and demands of Brazil’s black population are most presented in the streets, in seminars, cultural and media productions. According to programming, TV Brasil was to present a special that would feature actresses interpreting poems by Afro-Brazilian writers and a discussion on the experiences of Afro-Brazilian professionals in a racist society. There is a very widespread belief that if and when black Brazilians attain a college education, good salaries and middle class status, doors that were previously closed (although the existence of racism is still somewhat denied) would magically open and racism (that supposedly doesn’t exist) will cease to be a factor in professional aspirations. Well, as we’ve seen from the various reports of Afro-Brazilian elites, that clearly isn’t the case, for even if they attain a certain status, obstacles still remain and the society still has a problem accepting that they managed to escape the lower class status that Brazil has sought to impose on them for centuries. I wasn’t able to catch the program that was to air yesterday, but hopefully the program will be available online.
Below is a brief write up on the special.
Black consciousness: actresses interpret texts of celebrated Afro-Brazilian authors
This Wednesday, November 16, at 8:30 p.m., TV Brasil will air the special “Um abraço Negro” (a black embrace). The program brings a reflection on African heritage in Brazil and honors Black Consciousness Week.
The collective of actresses As Bititas were present at the studios of TV Brasil for the recording of the television special and the actress Andreia Lugli recorded the monologue of the text “Mulher Preta” (Black Woman) by Elaine Cristina Marcelina. The poem is part of the book Mulheres Incríveis (Incredible Women), check it out:
Rogéria Cardeal who is also part of the collective interprets the text “E eu não sou mulher?” (And I am not a woman?) by writer Conceição Evaristo. The author of the text that holds a master in Brazilian Literature from PUC-Rio, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the Federal Fluminense University had to reconcile her studies as maid until she finished her normal course in 1971, at the age of 25.
Also from the collective As Bititas, actress Lu Varello interprets a text extracted from the book that gave origin to the name of the collective Diário de Bitita by Maria Carolina de Jesus, an icon of black literature and Brazilian feminist who, among others, also wrote the bestseller Quarto de despejo, released in 1960 and translated into more than 13 languages. Lu also sings a verse from “Feeling Good” by the American singer-songwriter Nina Simone:
The “Abraço Negro” program will address the experiences of Afro-descendant professionals, discussing not only the importance of Afro-Brazilian culture in the construction of the Brazilian nation and culture, but also themes such as the inheritance of slavery and the permanence of racial discrimination and the importance of affirming the identities of African origin and its place in society.
In the program, Brazilian TV host and journalist Luciana Barreto will talk with filmmaker and theatologist Lelette Coutto, coordinator of the Special Coordination for Promotion of Racial Equality Policy (Cepir), of the City of Rio de Janeiro. Lelette is also the director of the show Mulheres de Raça Mulheres Incríveis (Race Women, Incredible Women) with the Collective As Bititas of which we have given the above performances.
Also present in the program will be the pedagogue, actress and producer Jana Guinond, singer and composer Mombaça, dancer and lawyer Carol Pires, musician, singer and composer Carlos Negreiros, lawyer, teacher and physician Berenice Aguiar and Renata Moraes, producer and creator of Crespinhos SA
Below is more information.
Um Abraço Negro
Special deals with the professional experience of Afro-descendants, their production in dance, music, theater, capoeira and the difficulties they face, such as racial discrimination, affirming their identity and their place in society.
More than five million enslaved Africans were brought to Brazil, the country that received the most slaves throughout the Americas and the last to abolish slavery. They brought knowledge, techniques, inventions, philosophy, religiosity, arts and many dreams.
Today, Brazil is marked by the black presence in speaking, singing, dancing, but also in the construction work of the country.
How is the representation of blacks in the various fields, besides art and sport? In the university, in the positions of direction, in the media and in the world of fashion is there still prejudice in relation to the body and the image of the black people?
Um Abraço Negro is led by journalist Luciana Barreto and features:
Filmmaker and theaterologist, Lelette Coutto, coordinator of the Special Coordination for the Promotion of Policies for Racial Equality Policy (Cepir), of the City of Rio de Janeiro;
The pedagogue, actress and producer Jana Guinond, who has already been TV host and coordinated the NGO Estimativa;
Singer and composer Mombasa;
The dancer and lawyer Carol Pires, who fights against racial and gender discrimination and for affirmative action of black women;
Musician, singer and composer Carlos Negreiros;
The president of the Abadá-capoeira cultural space, Mestre Nagô;
Lawyer, professor and physician Berenice Aguiar, member of the Racial Equality Commission-OAB-RJ and coordinator of the Juridical Committee of the State Council of Blacks of Rio de Janeiro;
Renata Moraes, creator of Crespinhos S.A., a producer who emerged to insert black children and teenagers into the universes of fashion, advertising and TV.
With Um Abraço Negro, TV Brasil pays homage to Afro-descendants and Brazilians of all colors and all ethnicities in the Week of Black Consciousness.
November 16, Wednesday, at 8:30 p.m.
Repertoire: “Samba Trançado e Pretinhosidade”, by Mombaça. “Salve a Raça Brasileira”, by Carlos Negreiros.