Note from BW of Brazil: It is truly an intriguing time in Brazil’s history. In a country that has historically taught its African descendants to have shame in their ancestry and deny their blackness, with access to college and information via the internet, more and more people are discovering a pride in defining themselves as negros and negras or Afro-Brasileiros and Afro-Brasileiras. And they’re not just taking advantage of this information for themselves; through blogs and video sharing sites such as You Tube, they are sharing their knowledge, experiences and development of their identity and transitions into accepting their natural hair. Below we share with you yet another such story, this time featuring blogger and vlogger Gabi Oliveira.
African Revolution in Brazil: an interview with Gabi Oliveira
Courtesy of Le blog d’Afrique
Gabi is an Afro-Brazilian blogger. Her brilliant discourse on the social conditions of black women in Brazil leads us to reflect on the challenges of difference and acceptance.
When and how did you decide to be a blogger? For you, is it a hobby or a way to convey your ideas?
The idea came in July last year, in 2015. I handed in my paper in January of this year and it was based on the role of social networks in the acceptance of black women. A few months later arose in me the desire to create a blog and a channel to pass on in a simple way what I had only had access to when I entered the university.
Why did you chose the name “DePretas” (meaning ‘of black women’)? Is it important to claim your Afro-Brazilian identity in Brazil? Why?
I chose “DePretas” because of considering it a strong and contesting name also (laughs)!
The name already shows what’s coming: it’s in the feminine, in the plural and especially by and for black women. Of course I have a very varied audience, but we black women, almost never have something to call our own, we are always adjusting ourselves to that that is of others, so, whoever wants to enter “DePretas” will now have to start giving up their privilege.
What is the situation of Afro-Brazilians? The world knows about racism in the United States through the media, but we know little of racism in Brazil. How is it, in daily life, in politics, in culture, in education, in the search for jobs?
Racism in Brazil is in everything, being that for many years we have been deceived by the so-called myth of racial democracy, where it is preached that because of our intense miscegenation, racism here had been eliminated.
“According to research by the Peseu Abramo Foundation, 87% of respondents said that there was racism in Brazil, however 4% said that they are racist. The question is: could there be racism without racists?” – Paulo Rogério Nunes
Moreover, in recent months, several Brazilian artists have suffered from racist attacks on their social networks and this has been widely divulged in the newspapers here.
I heard about a movement of Afro-Brazilian women who campaign to appreciate their hair and black skin. Does the Afro-Brazilian woman suffer more discrimination?
Black women in Brazil are at the base of the social pyramid. They die less than black men, but die in life. Many have their fathers, their husbands or their children killed. In addition, one of the themes that has already been approached on my channel, is the loneliness of the black woman. In Brazil, black women are the last option in the question of serious relationships.
But even with all these issues in recent years we started what I believe to be a revolution that arises from the aesthetic. Many black women, like me, found in the capillary transition the first step to meeting their negritude and ancestry.
What is the importance Afro-Brazilian culture to you and how should it be valued?
Unless the black person was born in a politicized home, Afro-Brazilian culture is totally denied. I personally didn’t know what Afro-Brazilian culture was until going to college and I am the daughter of a black father and mother.
Therefore our struggle today is immense. We have searched every day more to understand the references that were taken away when our ancestors were brought here forcibly. We are moving in this direction, but there’s still a long ways to go.
Do Afro-Brazilians have a relationship with Africa and African cultures?
As I said in the previous answer, I believe that we are every day moving more towards a closer relationship with Africa and African cultures. Today, there are several groups that share the writings of African authors for us to know a little more of this vast universe that was taken from us.
Source: Le blog d’Afrique