Note from BBT: I can’t pretend to be a fan of her music, but I can admit that I admire and am impressed by her ascension in the world of global pop music. If you don’t who I’m talking about, it is the Brazilian pop/funk sensation Anitta. I’ll say it a hundred times, music today, at least the pop stuff, simply doesn’t have the same soul and feel of the music of decades gone by. I mean, how much of today’s music uses the classic lineup of piano/keyboard, rhythm/lead guitar, bass and drums? I remember a musician friend of mine saying how he noted how artificial the music has sounded since the disappearance of horns in popular music.
It seems that all of today’s music seems to be created on computers, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but at the same time, it really depends on how much the music is computer generated. Even in the 1990s, when rappers could go into a studio and create full CDs with nothing with a vinyl album, a sampler and a drum machine. At least then, they were sampling real music which brought an authenticity to the sounds.
In reality, Anitta’s meteoric rise to pop stardom coincides with the rise and dominance of social media where everyone is going overboard, doing any and everything to get more eyes and ears to see and hear their products. It seems that right along with the popularity of Anitta’s music came an interest in everything the woman did, from the type of clothing she wore, how many plastic surgeries she’s undergone and which partner, male or female, she may or may not be sleeping with.
I vividly remember when Anitta made her debut with the hit ‘Show das Poderosas’ almost a decade ago. Yes, it was actually a catchy little ditty accompanied by a tightly choreographed black and white music video featuring the singer and her crew of dancers. Don’t get me wrong, by pop music standards, it was cool, but it didn’t really strike me as anything that was totally groundbreaking.
Maybe it was the idea and demand for female empowerment that had been rising in Brazil for some time, much of it led by the black womens’ movement. The word ‘poderosas’ itself translates into ‘the powerful ones’. Perhaps Brazilians saw in Anitta an image and package that nibbled just a bit off of the Queen B’s mystique. I mean, didn’t Beyonce have a hit, just a few years previously, called ‘Run The World (Girls)’? For some time, it seemed to me that Brazil was in search of a woman who could be marketed as the ‘Brazilian Beyonce’.
Anitta seemed to have the right package. She could step. She was pretty. She was willing to be ‘bootylicious’. She was racially ambiguous, something that Brazil has long prided itself on in an almost obsessive pursuit of whiteness. And whatever flaws she thought she might have, she was willing to ‘fix’ them, as it has been reported that the artist has undergone at least 50 of them. In december of 2021, Anitta was quoted as saying
“I accept myself, but I like to change. For me, having plastic surgery is like changing my hair. I think of young people looking at a magazine or Instagram and saying ‘How I wish I was born that way. She is beautiful. Her life is perfect,’ and feeling bad. For me, there are two options: either my fans will know the truth – for example, that I am full of plastics – or they will know that I am a liar.”
Yes, there are many things that must be done, many sacrifices to make to get to pop superstardom, and it seems that Anitta is willing to do just about any and everything to get there and remain there. Perhaps another piece will be necessary to really get into the Anitta mystique and some of the controversies that have come along her path to superstardom, but for now, let’s focus on a recent huge career achievement in her pursuit of international stardom.
Anitta wins a VMA becoming the first Brazilian to win the award
The singer won as Best Latin Music Video with her hit song ‘Envolver’. Earlier in the night, she performed the song live onstage
Anitta won the Best Latin Music video award at the Video Music Awards 2022 with ‘Envolver’. The singer was the first Brazilian to win the award and was surprised by the victory.
“I really wasn’t expecting this, I think I’m gonna cry. Okay, so I just want to say, for whoever doesn’t know, tonight it’s history. It’s the first time of Brazil here, it’s the first in my country to receive an award like this and I want to thank my family and my fans,” Anitta said after receiving the award.
Anitta shared her look and stated that it is “the heart of Brazil”
In red at VMAs, Anitta says: “Let’s fight for the improvement of Brazil”
She highlighted that, on the VMA stage, she performed a rhythm that “was considered a crime” for many years and recalled her origins. “I was born and raised in the ghetto in Brazil and for those who were born there, we would never have imagined that this would be possible. So thank you very much!”
Note from BBT: So what does Anitta mean by a rhythm that ‘was considered a crime’? What the artist refers to is the fact that funk music in Brazil has always been criminalized in the minds of a large segment of Brazilian society. For the more conservative elements, funk culture represents criminality, drug trafficking, loose sexual morals and the degeneration of society. The desire to shut down funk became so strong that in 2017, there was actually a bill introduced in the Brazilian senate to ban funk music and the popular dances where this genre was wildly popular among Brazilian youth. The bill was actually struck down in the senate, but the criminalization of the genre continues to this day.
Just so you know, when I speak of genre known as Brazilian funk, which arose out funk carioca, or funk that emerged in Rio De Janeiro, I must make it clear that Brazilian funk is not the same as what we call funk in the US. In the 1970s, when black American soul and funk was at its peak, Brazilian DJs began organizing huge dances called bailes where they played much of the American black music scene that was coming out the United States. A little of this was depicted in the 2002 Brazilian film Cidade De Deus, or City Of God, where the images of the dances were re-created. Watching that scene in the film when I first saw it brought back memories of the era for me.
Even as the 70s birthed a number of Brazilian artists who were either doing their own takes on american funk and soul or mixing it with elements of Brazilian samba, by the 1990s, Brazilian funk seemed to be much more inspired by the Miami bass sound that blew up some time in the 90s. Brazilian funk lyrics often contained sexually explicit lyrics in the vain of groups like the 2 Live Crew or discussed the realities of favela life, favelas referring to the slums mounted on the outskirts and on the hills of major cities.
At the 2022 video music awards, Anitta competed for the award with Bad Bunny, Becky G and Karol G, Daddy Yankee, Farruko and J Balvin and Skrillex.
Wearing a red leotard, the singer took Brazilian funk to the VMAs and also made the audience dance to her hit “Envolver” and finalized her performance with a medley of her funk hits. On stage, she asked the question, “VMA, did you think I wasn’t going to shake my ass tonight?”, which can be translated as “VMA, você achou que eu não ia balançar minha bunda hoje à noite?”.
The singer then proceded to shake what her mamma gave her to songs such as ‘Vai Malandra’, ‘Movimento da Sanfoninha’ and ‘Bola Rebola’.
As I’ve pointed out in other articles, Anitta clearly has her eyes on capturing the international music scene as are other artists, such as Ludmilla and Iza. Even being in the United States for the event, the artist showed that she was following the first debate between presidential candidates. In Brazil, it is election season, as right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro seeks re-election as former President Lula Da Silva has been leading in the polls form several months now. When interviewed, the singer explained that it wasn’t a coincidence that she chose a red dress, which is the color of the Lula’s PT, meaning the Workers’ Party. The artists even published a photo on her Instagram profile with the number 13, Lula’s candidacy number and also made the symbol of the letter L as she was being interviewed.
Note from BBT: Although I am not a great fan of funk or Anitta, I must admit that I admire her ascension onto the world music scene. Anitta speaks spanish and english, has made appearance on international talk shows and is quickly growing her brand. She also has no problem with seeing salacious rumors about her sexuality, and sex life as there are constantly rumors in the headlines claiming that the singer slept with this woman, man or men.
Another issue that has been hotly debated, particularly amongst black Brazilians, is the way that Anitta has always skirted the race issue or even defined herself racially. While some black brazilians see anitta as a light-skinned black woman, others refer to her as a parda or mestiça, meaning brown or mixed, while still others classify her as branca, meaning white.
The intriguing this is that, as Anitta has not clearly defined herself as black, although claiming her father as a black man, Anitta has been the target of accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’, as critics accuse her of borrowing the funk and favela culture that is strongly connected to the Afro-Brazilian population. When asked about her racial identity, anitta has never publicly defined herself as black, although she once claimed, in posting a photo of herself wearing braids, that she spends time in the sun, she becomes a ‘neguinha’, apparently seeing blackness as something she put on or take off as if it were a hat.
Larissa de Macedo Machado, or just Anitta, was born in Honório Gurgel, a neighborhood in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, on March 30, 1993. Her relationship with music began as a child. Ever since she was little, she knew she wanted to be a singer. At the age of 8, encouraged by her grandparents, she began singing in the choir of the Santa Luzia church, located in her neighborhood.
Beginning of career
One day, just for fun, Anitta posted a video on YouTube singing funk and using a bottle of perfume as a microphone. In 2010, the video caught the attention of a Furacão 2000 music producer, who invited her to some auditions. After being approved, she signed a contract with the label.
Released in 2013, her debut album, “Anitta,” reached the top of the Brazilian music charts and was responsible for establishing her as an artist. That year, the hit “Show das Poderosas” won in the categories of música chiclete and best clip, at the Multishow Award for Brazilian Music.
For years working to expand her career around the world, in June 2020, Anitta announced the signing of a contract with Warner Records in the United States. “Tócame”, with the participation of Arcangel & De La Ghetto, and “Me Gusta”, in partnership with Cardi B and rapper Myke Towers, were two of the releases of this new phase of the artist.
“Versions of Me”, released in April 2022, was the singer’s first album with an international label. In addition to the song “Girl From Rio”, the work also features the songs “Envolver”, “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Faking Love”.
With her chart-topping career in the era of streams and downloads, the Brazilian has amassed a fortune that is larger than an impressive list of well-known American entertainers.
Already on the listing of Brazil’s most powerful women, Anitta has a fortune worth more than 100 million US dollars, which, at the time of the estimate, was equal to about 553 million Brazilian reais, according to Forbes magazine. With the American dollar being worth more than five Brazilian reais for a few years now, in her native Brazil, Anitta is more than halfway to billionaire status.
On March 24 of this year, Anitta added another important accomplishment to her already impressive resume when she became the first solo Latin artist to reach No. 1 on Spotify. In about 120 days after the release of “Envolver”, the song had already reached 6.39 million streams worldwide.
Regularly ranking atop Spotify’s Global Top, the most used music player and podcasts in the world, is not the only ranking in which Anitta comes in ahead of other musicians. Making a comparison with some singers, the Brazilian singer has a larger net worth than several artists with international careers.
Anitta is the most played Brazilian singer on streaming platforms and has more than 60 million followers on Instagram. Currently, the singer is investing in her international career and is also part of numerous advertising campaigns. The resounding success of the hit ‘Envolver’ was another step for Anitta in strengthening her brand as an international singer.
To get an idea, consider a few artists. The rapper Eminem has a career spanning more than 20 years and several big hits around the world, but his fortune is estimated to be equal to that of Anitta. Eminem’s fortune is also estimated at US$ 100 million.
A singer and guitarist for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder has a fortune of about $90 million.
With an award-winning international career, Nicki Minaj is considered as the most influential rapper of all time by the New York Times but even with all of her success, her fortune is estimated to be at about $25 million less than that of Anitta. The Trinidad-born rapper has a net worth of $75 million.
With worldwide success in the 2000s, the American singer Nelly was one of the rap artists who sold the most records in history. However, this didn’t reflect in a fortune greater than Anitta’s. Nelly owns a fortune of $60 million.
There’s a whole lot more than I could say about Anitta, specifically in terms of the race issue, but you’ll have to stay tuned to another episode for that breakdown. That’s all I got for now, but make sure to subscribe, share, and comment on this post. With that said, see you all next time.