Note from BBT: It’s funny how things work out sometimes. One incident happens and then a short time later, a nother incident happens that may been indirectly related goes down. This is the case with the popular funk singer Ludmilla. The star, while selling millions of copies of her songs, setting records on Instagram, selling out concert venues and having her face featured all sorts of advertising campaigns, continues to be the target of all sorts of hate ad racism.
It’s hard to believe for me, but one of those incidents that I thought happened only a few years ago actually made headlines five years ago. Where does the time go? This issue also reminds us how long legal procedures take to unfold. Back in 2016, a popular white socialite made comments about an afro textured wig that Ludmilla wore during a Carnaval event, which brought to the fore, once again, Brazilian society’s rejection of cabelo crespo, meaning kinky/curly hair.
For years, it’s been accepted for people to compare black people’s natural hair to the steel scouring pad known as Bombril but in recent years, Afro-Brazilians have it known that they no longer accept such a demeaning comparison. This comparison was at the center of the Ludmilla case when she decided to take the woman to court over her comment which was heard live on national television.
For the Court, Val Marchiori didn’t offend Ludmilla when comparing her hair to bombril
By Guilherme Lucio da Rocha
The Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice upheld Val Marchiori’s appeal against the conviction for moral damages after offenses against singer Ludmilla. The socialite had been sentenced to an indemnity of BRL 30 thousand for comparing the hairpiece the artist wore in her hair to the steel wool cleaning utensil known as bombril.
The dispute between Ludmilla and Val started in 2016, when the singer paraded at the Rio de Janeiro Carnival for the Salgueiro samba school. Working as a commentator for the event on Rede TV!, Val commented:
“The costume is beautiful, the makeup…Now, the hair…Hello! Her hair is looking like a bombril, people.”
Val published a print of a report on her case on her Instagram and wrote “Justice being done”. Sought for comment, she didn’t return messages and calls. The story will be updated if the socialite decides to comment on the case.
Ludmilla used Twitter to take a position. She stressed that this is not the first report of racism that she has made and said that he will continue to use her visibility to face prejudice. In a note, the singer also said that she is analyzing a possible appeal and that the decision shows “how difficult it is to fight against racism in Brazil”.
“I won’t give up nor is this just for me. I have visibility, I have evidence and I’m still going through it. Imagine for those who are anonymous? I can’t and we can’t give up.”
“Have you suffered racism? Easy. Go there and report it”
“The place of the racist is in jail”
“You complain too much, just go to court”
“Do you realize now that it’s not as easy as it looks? This is not the first, second or third report that I’ve made. I’m also not the first to pass” – Ludmilla ⚽️ (@Ludmilla) March 26, 2021
In 2018, the court ordered the socialite to pay BRL 10,000. The two involved complained about the decision. Val said she made a journalistic comment, that there was no cursing and that she was “zero racist”. The singer, on the other hand, understood that Val, “rich and full of privileges”, was amused by the episode.
The decision was overturned and, in a new decision last year, the first instance of the TJ-RJ sentenced Val Marchiori to pay BRL 30,000. The judge of the 3rd Civil Court of Ilha do Governador, Françoise Picot, understood that freedom of expression is not an absolute right and that the comment had been malicious.
“The comment made by the first defendant [Val Marchiori] appears to be illicit and inadmissible in two respects: due to the stain on the plaintiff’s [Ludmilla] personal image, when it is alleged that her hair, or even that the hair she was wearing, in representation of the black woman, was a ‘bombril’ hair (or ‘bombril’ accessory), which could, in theory, configure the conduct of racial injury, capitulated in article 140 of the Penal Code; and by the racial offense, as a result of comparing a black woman’s hair to the ‘bombril’ steel sponge, implying that this hair would not represent the black community well, or that it would be of a ‘lower category'”, says an excerpt from the decision.
The 14th Chamber understood it differently. In the vote, made on Wednesday, March 24 and followed unanimously by the judges, the case reporter, Francisco de Assis Pessanha Filho, contextualized Val’s statement stating that she commented on Ludmilla’s hair, not on her hair natural, that the episode is about freedom of expression and that it is far from being racist.
[…] It’s not possible to extract from the aforementioned facts any intention to disqualify or offend the author due to her skin color, nor to ridicule her or disparage the person – says an excerpt from the vote.
The case reporter also understood that Ludmilla, being a public person, “submitted to social scrutiny through a Carnival parade broadcast to the whole world, which is why she is subject to praise and contrary opinions”.
There is still the possibility of appeal by the parties.
“Respect our hair!!” -Ludmilla sings on BBB21
Note from BBT: Ludmilla may have lost that case, but about a week later, the singer made a surprise appearance on the popular Globo TV Big Brother Brasil reality show, which is in it’s 21st season. The most recent controversy coming from the show featured one of the white/near white participants comparing the afro of one of the black participants to the hair of a caveman. The incident was one of the most commented on in social networks for several days after it happened.
Ludmilla took the opportunity to appear on the program singing a few of her hits and demanding that people respect afro-textured hair.
On BBB, Ludmilla says “Respect our hair” after Rodolffo’s comment
Singer sent indirect message to sertanejo singer after his comment on João Luiz’s hair
By Douglas Françoza
Ludmilla was the musical attraction invited to rock the party this Saturday (3) at Big Brother Brasil. The singer opened her show causing a frisson in the brothers and presenting her hit “Fala Mal de Mim”, but what caught the attention was a message from the artist.
Even without mentioning the episode, Ludmilla made reference to Rodolffo’s comment about João Luiz’s hair. Before singing “Favela Chegou”, the singer said: “Respect our funk, respect our color and respect our hair”. João Luiz and close friend and also participant, Camilla de Lucas, were thrilled with the artist’s words. Earlier, Rodolffo compared a “caveman” wig he wore to the hairstyle of his confinement colleague, causing revolt in the reality show’s audience and discomfort for the geography professor.
Ludmilla had already shown solidarity with João on her Twitter. “João, a lot of strength at this moment, your black is beautiful! It is very difficult to go through situations like this, but we must always keep our heads up and have an active voice so that they respect us. JOÃO LUIZ DESERVES RESPECT”, wrote the funkeira on the social network.
Note from BBT: Given Ludmilla’s recent ordeal, her appearance was perfect timing. But I have to say I fund one particular detail about Ludmilla’s appearance as, well, questionable. I’m not saying the singer doesn’t have the right to wear her hair hoever she so chooses, but I think her appearance would have been far more powerful had she not been wearing the bone straight wig that was on her head during the performance. Ludmilla got mad support when she released photos with her natural hair a few years ago so why she chose to show her support for João’s afro with hair that doesn’t represent that same struggle is beyond me, but that’s just how I saw it.
As it turns out, Nego Di, a participant on this same season of BBB who was eliminated several weeks ago thought the same thing, going even further. The comedian criticized not only Ludmilla’s “peruca liso” (straight textured wig) but also her “nariz nos conformes”, meaning literally, “nose in compliance”, referring to Ludmilla’s nosejob. The comedian would later delete the tweet after the negative repercussions.
My thing is, it is a well-known fact that black Brazilian women often undergo cosmetic surgery of some sort after gaining fame. This was a topic I discussed several years ago. It IS a shame, but it is what it is. When I saw Ludmilla’s choice of hair in defending natural black hair texture, I thought the same thing. I guess some truths are accepted better than others.
I understand that for black celebrities, the pressure must be pretty high to comply with racist beauty standards, but at the same time, Ludmilla has done very well for herself since her debut nearly a decade ago. In some ways, I think her voice and appearance could be very powerful in this struggle. But even if she decided not to, I think she could have at least appeared on the program with her natural ‘fro, then if she decided to go back to the lacefront, that would have been her choice.
Oh well, just my thoughts. Agree or disagree, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. As I delve further into this issue, I’m sure there will be other things people with disagree with. Cool with me. Makes for a better conversation.
Let’s keep it moving…
Update from BBT: This just in. I had started and already finished this post last week and was ready to share when I learned of this. Ludmilla issued another statement on this whole controversy by posting another photo of herself rockin’ her natural ‘fro. For me, her actions kind of validate what I thought as well as what Nego Di posted. If Nego Di didn’t have a point in talking about the problem with her demanding respect for afro-textured hair while wearing a straight wig, why did she suddenly feel the need to post a photo with her natural hair? Hmmm…Seems to me the folks that criticized Nego Di for his post didn’t want to admit that he had a point.
Ludmilla removed the lace and, last Friday (9), displayed her natural hair on Instagram.
The singer used an ironic phrase to rebut those who criticized her for wearing a wig in her presentation in BBB21, on Saturday (3).
At the time, she sent an indirect message to Rodolffo after the former participant had made a derogatory comment about João’s “black power” (afro).
“URGENT: Ludmilla takes off the lace and earns a place to speak,” shot the funkeira. “My black (afro). My root. My hair, my rules. Respect our hair,” she added via hashtags.
Over the weekend, she performed a show on BBB21 and called for respect for black people’s hair. “The next song I’m going to sing now talks about something the world is in need of, which is respect. Respect our funk, respect our color, respect our hair. Respect c******”, said the singer at the occasion.
Many people started to criticize her, saying that she interrupted game of discord segment of the show, but the artist denied it: “For people who are saying that I interfered in the game or something like that, if you don’t know, last week I lost in court to a racist and the judge claimed freedom of speech. And he still wants me to pay her lawyers’ fees. Go to sleep with that noise”, she explained, referring to the lawsuit that at the top of this post.