Note from BBT: Black Brazilians going global. That’s what comes to my mind with all of the international recognition that the community has garnered over the past few years. Afro-Brazilian filmmakers who are still basically ignored in their own country have received international recognition for their work. Recently, singer IZA was featured in a TIME magazine article and singer Ludmilla recently performed at the halftime show at the NBA game.
This is by no means a full summary of recent recognitions and international features by black Brazilians, but in the case of IZA, Ludmilla and now rapper Emicida, funkster MC Dricka and philosopher Djamila Ribeiro, this has all happened in a period of about a month. The last three are all being recognized at this year’s BET Awards ceremony that’s poppin’ off tomorrow night.
The network that started off as a small channel to promote black culture in the United States is now a global brand, being broadcast in 75 countries, including, as of a few months ago, Brazil. I will soon be discussing this at length, but for now, I wanted to simply share the news about Emicida, MC Dricka and Djamila Ribeiro. According to BET, Brazil is officially in the house as this now makes five black Brazilians who have been recognized by the BET brand.
Black Brazilian star power at 2021 BET Awards: Rapper Emicida, funkster MC Dricka nominated, philosopher Djamila Ribeiro to receive Social Impact Award
With information courtesy of Cultura Preta, UOl Splash, Istoé, Correiro Braziliense, Glamurama, Mundo Negro
Brazil has gained a new representation at the BET Awards, an award focused on African-American artists and that contemplates talents from all over the world. Rapper Emicida was nominated in the best international artist category in the ceremony to be held tomorrow, June 27.
The rapper is competing against artists from all over the world: Aya Nakamura from France, Burna Boy from Nigeria, Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania, Headie One from the UK, Wizkid from Nigeria, Young T & Bugsey from the UK, and Youssoupha from France. One of the most successful and important rappers in Brazil for a decade, he previously received nominations for the Latin Grammy, MTV Europe Music Awards, and the Multishow Brazilian Music Award.
On social media, the singer gave thanks for the recognition.
Shortly after Emicida was nominated, funk singer MC Dricka, known as the Queen of Flows, was nominated in the Best New International Artist category.
“I am is very happy for this nomination, the only Brazilian representing funk, and even more, female funk. I thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who is voting, vote for me,” requested the 23-year-old artist through her Instagram profile. An emerging name in funk from São Paulo, she has more than 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and sings strong lyrics in “Empurra empurra”, “38 carregado”, and “Vai fazer carão”.
As if this weren’t enough, the funkster was also surprised to discover that her face had been prominently displayed in Times Square, one of the main postcards in New York. The announcement is part of a Spotify initiative to recognize the role of women in the music world. Dricka has more than 300 million hits on YouTube and more than 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
“Oh my God, I didn’t even come out on the cover of kisuco, when I did, I came out in Times Square. I woke up and there were a bunch of people mentioning me. Always like that, me waking up. I keep working on my songs. I stay late in the studio. Good morning to those who woke up with my face in Times Square. I called the most important people in my life so I could celebrate. For me it was surreal. Even more on the big screen. I was amazed,” said the funkeira.
Other Brazilians have also been nominated for the award. In 2020, rapper Djonga represented the country in the Best International Flow category. In 2018, it was MC Soffia’s turn in the International Breakthrough Artist category.
Philosopher Djamila Ribeiro also received recognition at the award show. Ribeiro has been chosen to receive the BET International Global Good Award 2021 – Social Impact Award. The award is part of BET International’s recognition of public figures who champion initiatives that promote positive social change and awareness.
Djamila is known for her constant fight for the rights of black people and women, for her enormous social activism, courageously denouncing violence and social inequality, so characteristic of Brazilian society. She is also coordinator of the Sueli Carneiro and the Feminismos Plurais platform, in which she has published thirteen books by black authors.
“It is our duty to take advantage of this moment to stimulate our collective power to eradicate systemic racism, violence and injustice,” says Monde Twala, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Viacom/CBS Africa. “At BET, we consider this our responsibility. We are committed to working closely with community leaders, NGOs, and corporate partners, who strive to create a more just society. We are supportive and seek to empower all members of our community who are working towards that change,” he adds.
According to Tiago Worcman, General Manager of BET Brazil, the brand was inspired by the great appeal that Djamila has regarding action for justice and social change. “We are proud to know that she makes the anti-racist debate even more accessible in its various forms of knowledge,” says Worcman.
With three books that address feminism and racism and a new book that is soon to be released, Djamila is an active voice who has been honored a few times with national and international awards.
“I am proud of this recognition. In such dark times, knowing that there is a brand totally dedicated to black culture is something wonderful. And to be able to be part of this, receiving such an important award, is a glory,” says Djamila. Among the honorees from previous years are the artist and philanthropist Akon and the French social justice activist, Assa Traoré.
Like Dricka, the news came as a bit of a surprise to Emicida. “I connected a lot with BET throughout my career, but I was surprised by the nomination, it was unexpected. I’ve spent my whole life following BET and then I was nominated and they mention my name there, I thought ‘wow, it looks like the game has turned”, said the rapper with a laugh.
In some ways, Djamila shares my view on such awards. Of course, it’s great to see black Brazilians being recognized outside of Brazil, but it doesn’t take away nor soften the harsh realities that the Brazil’s black population has to consistently deal with.
“As Lélia Gonzalez would say, our legacy is not only a legacy based on pain. Usually, we are only represented as objects of repression. I think that having me, Emicida, MC Dricka, in this place of international recognition has a very strong symbolic force. This is not going to change the structures, but it shows that there are other possibilities of existence and that these possibilities can be shown, exhibited, and made visible,” reflected Ribeiro.
Emcida’s views on the recognition in some ways, echo those of Ribeiro.
“My trajectory is atypical, and this atypicality often makes me be seen as an example of the possibility of victory,” he reflected. Knowing that such small individual victories don’t solve the collective issues. “We need to step on the gas so that these changes happen faster,” he says about the changes in mentality regarding the conquests of black people.