In a gesture that is becoming as regular as the main event itself, black models organized a protest against under-representation at Fashion Rio’s Winter edition. As with similar protests staged in Brasília, São Paulo and previous fashion shows in Rio, the objective is to raise public awareness of the fact that non-whites make up 51% of Brazil’s population although one would never know this judging from the whiteness of models on runways. A report four years ago showed that São Paulo Fashion Week in January of 2008 featured 344 models with only 8, or 2.3% being black.
Arm in arm and bare-chested, a group of protesters from the NGO Educafro movement walked the aisles of the 22nd edition of Fashion Rio on Wednesday (7) to protest the lack of blacks on Brazilian catwalks.
42-year old lawyer Creuzimar Gomes, a member of Educafro, came to the protest with her breasts exposed and said that this is the seventh time that the NGO has appeared at the event. See video of her comments below and in the video:
“This event never has black participants. Women, men. Blacks don’t parade, blacks don’t participate, blacks are not invited. We are here, a large part of the Brazilian population is black. Brazil is a mixed country, mainly black, we are part of this country and we have rights here.”
Speaking on her exposed breasts, she continued:
“We came here like this, we are like this. Africa is nude. We come into the world like this. We are free.We have to call attention to the lack of representation of blacks. Unfortunately we had to strip naked. I’m a 42-year old black woman with 3 degrees and I am here. Prejudice is huge, prejudice affects us. We are fighting, we are battling. We have to protest. There are black women that are pretty, beautiful…Are we parading, our profile is not European. There should be a runway that is at least mixed. Where is it?”
According Moisés Alcunã, one of the coordinators of Educafro, the idea is to cover the minimum 10% representation of black models in each modeling parade. “We already have an agreement of this representation with the public ministry. Brazil is as rich and miscegenated as it is misrepresented.”
“It seems that we are a Nordic country!,” complained actor Marco Rocha, who walked beside Alcunã. “If we have attention out here, why not there inside?”, he asked. Along with the parade, the models, with their faces and bodies painted, did performances, calling attention of the public. “Art is the best way to protest, it creates reflection, makes people rethink their place,” said Alcunã.
Educafro is a national organization that promotes the inclusion of black people in public and private universities, in addition to fighting for the state to fulfill its obligations to the black population for the end of ethnic discrimination.
The curious thing about Creuzimar’s participation is that yesterday, having seen a few black models parade the runways with their breasts exposed while seeing no white models doing the same, Carlos Roberto Silva asked if the event’s organizers thought of black women as “natives” or only sex objects, revisiting a question we posed only a few weeks ago. Concluding, he lamented what he saw because “the black woman doesn’t deserve this.”
What do you think? Is the exposure of breasts a connection to sexual objectification? Is it a form of women’s liberation? Is it a way of normalizing the human body? Are exposed breasts viewed differently if the woman is black or white? Should this even be an issue?
Feel free to leave a comment.
I think you are being unfair.I didnt ask why inclusion is important at all, i asked why is inclusion so important. I realize my intent was misunderstood. I restate my question, why is inclusion more important than the communities own structure.If I take your position correctly, you are stating that it is more important for white fashion designers, in a white financed fashion week, to have black models, THAN the existence of a black financed fashion week, with black designers ustilizing Black models?if Black models want to be in magazines, then the first question to me, isnt when white owned magazines hire them, but where are the black owned magazines?If black people aren't on television, then the first question to me, isnt when white owned television stations make black shows , but where are the black owned television stations?Black ownership is more vital than black labor. In the USA, we fought for black labor to be accepted everywhere but if you look at black ownership, it took a huge hit. It was a sacrifice. And, I feel like Black Brazilians should learn from that mistake. Black Statians own less now than we did 50 years ago. Black models today in the USA have more access than 50 years ago, but Black owned fashion enterprises are less than what they were 50 years ago. Own first then worry about inclusion.
great post, thank you for the information about discrimination black brazilian women face in modeling industry. it very similar to what black american women face in the modeling industry. how can you be in a country like brazil with so many POC and have an all white fashion show that's supposed to represent the whole country??… it's ridiculous how white washed everything is. About the question of black women's breast being exposed vs. white women's breasts. Yes, I do think black women and white women's breasts are viewed differently. black women showing breast is seen as dirty, trash, over-sexed jezebel a white women can flash her breasts on camera and become a liberated, sex goddess.black women have always either been portrayed as the mammy or jezebel, there is no in between…so a beautiful black women showing her breasts in a non-degrading way is a NO NO to a lot of people…but put a bw in a nasty, racist porn film where a guy is doing all this ish to her breasts and it's okay…it makes me sick the beauty standard and how backward they are, let me tell you, girl people are intimated of us..that's what it's all about. I know that now, it's all about insecurity because I've experienced it personally and I did a post about it: http://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/do-over-my-experience-with-passive-aggressive-racism-in-brazil/#comment-1737
you are right that Black women's breast are lusted after by the same people who also call them the worst names. But, like many perceptions by Whites towards Blacks anywhere in the American continent, they were groomed through Black enslavement too whites. Where we were called all sorts of negative names but also did everything from housework, raising other peoples kids, building roads, being jockeys. We did more work than any other people totally enslaved and were called the worst names. Women today pay women to breast feed their children, if their milk isnt good enough. Is it really a leap to see how black women's breast fed white and black children alike, as black women's bodies were also the best brothel. In New Orleans , a place called storyville existed. In storyville, their were many ladies of the evening, the highest paid were all white but all claimed to have black descendence of some grade because white men had mythologized the scenario of raping an enslaved black woman into an insatiable luring by a wild nymphomaniac.From that environment you get the image of the beautiful and naked black woman. BUT, my issue is, what to do about this? Is trying to change whites the answer? No, the answer is having a black fashion fair and doing it to uphold how we wish to see oursleves.
Must agree with Centralharlemite regarding Black ownership more valuable than Black labor, however, I am sure the solution is a mixture between the two. If you have Black ownership, but the infrastructure makes you live like a second class citizen and can take what you have or the threat of it is perceived or real then what you have is similar to many countries in Africa, resources for the taking or exploiting. On the other hand if you get inclusion but have no ownership you are still in the same boat because you have not changed the mindset of people thinking that Black is bad and the Black businesses will die off because of the flock to white owned businesses.
Well I'm not a black Brazilian or a black American. I'm Black British. I don't speak for or over black Brazilians. I see black people from Africa to Brazil to to US as brothers and sisters in arms and love this site because I get to find out about a Brazil that is rarely shown in the media, so I read the brilliant articles and give my opinon of the article. It seems to me that Brazilians and Europeans like to talk about how there are so many race problems in the US and not in their countries which I know for a fact is rubbish. I've found countries that talk like this are normally the worse for racism but I am coming to Brazil for a few years next year so I will see for myself.
I understand fully what you are saying and feel it's something that white people do alot when it comes to black people, they speak for us and over us and try to act like they understand when they really don't have a clue, which is why I don't talk for or about things I don't really know instead I listen and ask questions and if I can go to the places so I can get a better understanding, but what I have found in countries of the black diaspora is how similar the experiences are. I agree with Minasek when she says about seeing black people suffering, it doesn't matter where in the world it is it hurts me, it's the same when I see a human being suffering, but I'm black so I put black people first with no apology just like white people put white people first.
The tits of the protester with three degrees are fantastic! I wish I was there to pay worship and drool after her.