Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, I think this type of initiative is a great idea. In a past article, I commented on how TV series with predominantly black casts are nothing new in the United States. As anyone living in the US knows, the 1970s brought a slew of black sitcoms and even a few dramas as well as the infamous series of films starring mostly black actors and set in black communities known as blaxploitation. But in Brazil, the idea of having a TV series with primarily black actors is still a novelty and when they do air, there’s always a buzz in the community. But as I’ve learned having watched plenty of TV series, sitcoms and films starring African-American actors, we must be careful with these ideas. For me, it no longer matters if a series or film presents largely black casts if the production presents stereotypes about black populations and subsequently often coming across as being a worse option than having no black representation. We’ve recent examples of this in Brazil with TV productions such as Subúrbia and the highly criticized Sexo e As Negas. This also goes for series/novelas (soap operas) with heavy Afro-Brazilian cast presence in which the series is set in the slavery era.
If the actors behind the initiative proposed in today’s story are envisioning some sort of series that will air on one of Brazil’s major TV networks, we must ask ourselves, who will have creative control over the series and who will be the producers, executive producers and directors of such a series. Without these roles being filled by Afro-Brazilians who aren’t willing to sell the same ole image of black people, a series with only black actors won’t address the bigger issue.
Elisa Lucinda, Lázaro Ramos, Taís Araújo and Camila Pitanga discuss series with only black actors
By Nereida Albernaz
Brazilian actors have united around a new project: to develop a series that only involves black actors. The initiative is happening “in secret”, but was revealed to Bahia Notícias by the actress, poet and singer Elisa Lucinda, who performed in the capital of Bahia last weekend.
“Me, Lázaro Ramos, Luís Miranda, Adriana Couto, Fabrício de Oliveira, Taís Araújo, Camila and Antônio Pitanga, among others, are talking,” she admitted. Elisa considers the meetings to be only “informal meetings,” but believes that ideas will come out on paper later this year: “We have a very strong frame of people who are good, but they are always only one per cast. Our força negra (black strength) is very diluted, I think it’s more than time to write our victories and play the lead in them.”
The actress, who is also a writer and journalist, said that the year will be of new challenges and that she is “writing series, screenwriting and doing a work more and more focused on dramaturgy for blacks.”
According to her, the meetings take place in São Paulo and the group still doesn’t have name, since the project is still in the phase of “organization of ideas”. The artist argues that the project will have relevance because the debate on racism is a trend of the world and Brazil: “It is a very important issue. Brazil is still very racist, right? And we know what exclusion is.” Lucinda still proposes new classic productions with black actors, citing the film A Bela e a Fera (The Beauty and the Beast) that is currently playing in the country. “You cannot imagine Beauty and the Beast with Beauty being black, all the great world symbols are europelizados (Europeanized), this is very annoying.”
The artist believes in cultural actions of empowerment and defends the creation of this version with blacks in Brazil. In addition, Elisa continues in 2017 on the Cidade Partida program, which is shown on Canal Brasil and is in its second season. The veteran will also join the “wave” of digital influencers, with the launch of her own YouTube channel. Unveiled, the novelty will be released in May and will bring to the public subjects of “everyday and current themes, plus poetry, music,” all under the artist’s vision.
Source: Bahia Notícias