Note from BW of Brazil: The issue of the absence or extreme under-representation of Afro-Brazilians in the media, including televisions commercials, has been in the forefront of the discussion in Movimento Negro circles for some time. A family conversation in his own home led well-known actor Érico Brás to do something creative about it. Brás, his wife and children took matters into their own hands and started producing commercials for fictional products to show that black people, like any other people, use everyday products. The videos add yet another piece to the dialogue on black invisibility in the country that believes everyone “is equal.”
Actor Érico Brás takes racial debate to YouTube
by Alison Azevedo
A family discussion about the presence of blacks in the media. This was the trigger that led actor Érico Brás, 34, Jurandir in the Tapas e Beijos TV series, to decide to create a channel on YouTube recreating versions of major TV advertisements. But this time starring black characters. Thus arose the Tá Bom pra Você? (Is it Good for You?)
“Gabriela (the actor’s stepdaughter) began to question the participation of blacks in the media in general. We recommended for her to read the book Um Defeito de Cor (A Defect of Color by Ana Maria Gonçalves published by Editora Record). Yet, she kept asking questions. She wanted to know why subjects about blackness, which are discussed at home, are not also discussed at school. Then we decided to create a channel to show the other side of the coin,” Brás revealed.
The production of the videos also became a family activity. The texts are produced, directed and performed by Érico’s wife, actress and producer Kênia Dias, 36, and his two stepchildren, Mateus Dias, 17, and Gabriela Dias, 14.
“We do this together. We sat down to discuss what the topic discussed will be. And everyone participates. Everything is done from an element of creation. We took our personal experiences to video,” explains Kênia.
In the scenes, the debate on racism is completely subjective. No word on the subject is said. It’s only actors in everyday situations, and at the end of each video the question: “Tá bom pra você?” (Is it good for you?).
“The idea is to provoke discussion. To speak of a false racial democracy that exists in Brazil. Therefore, we end each episode wondering if it’s good for the audience. If it is, say why. If not, say this as well,” explains the actor.
And even bringing up a subject as delicate as the racial debate, the group of actors opted for humor. The videos are filled with jokes and (purposely) exaggerated performances for laughs.
“I like the comedic. When we do any text with comedy it’s easier for you to attract the audience, and when one sits, when they stop to listen to you, it’s because you have something to say. I learned this with the Bando de Teatro de Olodum. Comedy is delicious and you can lead the viewer to reflection,” Érico Brás continues.
The re-creation of advertisements that maintain the traditional atmosphere (the perfect family and a boundless joy), but reverse the order when put into play with only black actors, is part of the attraction. The Margarina Black (Black Margarine) commercial until now is what has received the most views. Altogether 18,043 people have watched it.
“It’s funny that margarine, being a cheaper product, is consumed more by the low-income population. And we know the color of poverty. And not even considering this do companies propose putting blacks in commercials. And that’s what Tá Bom pra Você wants to do. We’re affirming that blacks also eat bread. We’re showing that blacks consume and they should pay attention to it,” says Érico.
The latest video is Black Livre (Free Black) showing an intimate absorbent commercial in two versions, for older women and teenagers. “A sanitary napkin is something that is part of everyday life for any woman. And why don’t we ever see an advertisement with black women? This (the absence of black models) even defies the law of nature. It’s a lack of respect, especially in Brazil, where most of the population is black. Which only verifies how much of a lie the racial democracy is,” says Kênia Dias.
Aware that the subject is controversial, Èrico is affirmative: “We’re not too concerned about the criticism. If people will talk it’s because there’s something that’s bothering them, it’s a problem in Brazil to speak of racism. When a cast is totally black it suffers an absurd rejection.” The actor is already thinking about taking the project to the theater and cinema.
Source: A Tarde
Tá Bom Pra Você? Black Margarine Commercial
Tá Bom Pra Você? Toothpaste Commercial
Tá Bom Pra Você? – Wheat Flour Commercial
Tá Bom Pra Você? Black Livre (Free Black)