Welcome to Rio2016 Olympics! Afro-Brazilians and favela culture conquer the world with a dazzling display at the Opening Ceremony!



Note from BW of Brazil: Well unless you were sleeping, unconscious or simply not interested, you know that the long anticipated 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro started off with a bang last night at the famed Maracanã stadium. And what a spectacle the whole thing was! From samba to funk to maracatu and bossa nova, the opening presented to an international audience musical styles that have been the heart and soul of the country in various periods throughout the past century. 

After so much controversy that has marred Brazil since the country earned the right to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, many still wondered if it was even worth going through with the event. But as the opening ceremony finally began this frustration and pessimism turned into pride, at least for this brief time, as global cameras focused on some of the unique talents that make Brazil Brazil. And as the spectacle unfolded, I was quite surprised by what as well as who were allowed to present the country in such an important moment on the world stage. 


Favelas, like the majority black people that have long inhabited them, have long been a part of Brazil that so many like to pretend don’t matter and here were both in all their glory being  transmitted into the homes of perhaps a billion people worldwide! Not only did we see more black Brazilians on television than any other time of the year save Carnaval, this wave of blackness continued when the numerous representatives of African nations proudly representing their respective countries. 

Camaroon, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique
Representatives of Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique appear during the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Each of the Brazilian stars that appeared were important for their own particular reasons. Artists such as Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil represent the veteran superstars who have offered the best of Brazilian music for the past five decades. Elza Soares, the BBC’s “Singer of the Millenium” is perhaps the only black woman in Brazil to have reached such heights in a career that has seen her scat like Louis Armstrong and share the stage with the new funk generation. And this new generation was well-represented with the likes of Karol Conka and Ludmilla, who have taken their places among Brazil’s top stars in recent years and the diminutive MC Soffia, the 12-year old whose rhymes encouraging black girls just like her to take pride in their race have taken her from small Hip Hop venues to one of the world’s biggest media events! 

It’s great to see some of these names that have, for the most part, been known only in Brazil, be able to do what they do best for an international audience! And it’s great to know that BW of Brazil was able to bring these talents to our readers in previous posts as they continue to climb to new heights in their careers! BW of Brazil was here before the World Cup and the Olympics and when all the hype of this event is over, we will continue to bring you news about these movers and shakers when the international spotlight has long faded! But for now and the next few weeks all eyes are on Rio de Janeiro! Welcome to the 2016 Summer Olympics!

#Rio2016: ‘Bloco Favela’ opening was simply sensational


Courtesy of Brasil Pòst

Say what: did you get goosebumps too seeing the “bloco favela” at the opening ceremony of the Olympics?


On Friday evening (5), in the already memorable Rio 2016, the opening ceremony dedicated to the periphery colored Maracanã and slammed into the hard reality represented there.


The funkeira Ludmilla, from the top of the shanties, sung “Rap da Felicidade” (Happiness Rap), announcing to all Brazilians and foreigners present: “Eu só quero é ser feliz / Andar tranquilamente na favela em que eu nasci” (I just want to be happy/Walking quietly in the favela where I was born)

2016 Rio Olympics - Opening Ceremony

Also showing up to sing, Karol Conka, MC Soffia and Elza Soares showed the power of the black women.

zeca d2
Singer Zeca Pagodinho and rapper Marcelo D2

Singers Zeca Pagodinho, Jorge Ben and rapper Marcelo D2 in turn, showed the joy and perseverance of the country’s poor people.


On Twitter, the praise and emotion also spoke out loud:


Gustavo Borges @Gusfborges
D2, Conka, mc sofia DAMN RAP IS THE SHIT, without speaking of what can’t mix. We are great. I doubt that would have happened to rap 10 years ago

Maria Julia Coutinho ✔ @majucoutinho
@Karolconka, MC Sofia, Jorge Ben Jor, Elza Soares, Gloria Maria.👊🏿👊🏿👊🏿👊🏿👊🏿@Rio2016


Snap: nyleferrari @nyleferrari
MC Soffia and Karol Conka in #CerimoniaDeAbertura (Opening Ceremony) talking about empowerment.

Jorge Ben, Regina Case
Singer/musician Jorge Ben and actress/TV host Regina Casé take stage at 2016 Rio Olympícs

Emanuel Colombari ✔ @ecolombari
For non-brazilians:
Karol Conka = Beyoncé
Elza Soares = Nina Simone
Jorge Ben = You would not understand


saninha @jaurgy
There will be funk yes
There will be Ludmilla yes
There will be Anitta yes
will have Karol Conka yes
8:34 PM – 5 Aug 2016
215,215 retweets 117,117 likes


snap: JornalOGlobo ✔ @JornalOGlobo
If it is to tip over… Karol Conka gives a peck to Elza Soares behind the scenes. http://glo.bo/2b0ahdI

MC Soffia becomes highlight of international site after Rio 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony

Rapper, 12, sang alongside Karol Conka about female empowerment


Courtesy of Quem

MC Soffia, 12, won over foreignors and was featured in social networks and on the foreign site Hollywood Life, performing next to Karol Conka at the opening of the Olimpíada Rio 2016 (Rio Olympics 2016) on Friday (5), at the Maracanã stadium.

According to the publication that did a story about the rapper, talking about her quality, which it compared to rappers Drake and Eminem. “She did an amazing duet with Karol Conka,” said the text, which also praised the singer’s style. “She rocked the stage for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and made her mark on music and in fashion! Who didn’t notice in her pink dreadslocks.”

conka soffia

Soffia, who was also featured in The Guardian, blew up on social networks. Internet users praised her hair and the fact that she’s been singing about female empowerment at such a young age.

Source: Quem, Brasil Post

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Yeah black folks were represented at the opening ceremony but where were the black athletes in Brazil’s Olympic team? Is that why they put so much black folks on display on the stage because they knew there were hardly any represented in the team?

    • What are you talking about? There are plenty of black people on the team. Have you seen the soccer team, basketball team, volleyball team and track team???

      • Lawd the usual suspects! What about the tennis, cycling, rowing, golf and swimming teams?

  2. As I have said before, THIS is what the world sees when they see Brazil! The organizers KNOW this! If they had not had these Black Brazilians there representing, they would not have had anything! Kudos to Black Brazilians for stepping out all the way for this!

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