Black Journalists from Brazil
Note from BW of Brazil: In the ongoing struggle of Afro-Brazilians to make their voices heard, we have seen an openness in Brazil in recent years to discuss the effects of racism and white supremacy that has dominated the nation for centuries, relegating its black population to positions of inferiority, real or perceived, even when they attain success in whatever they do. A consequence of this has been yet another manner of keeping black Brazilians “in their place”. Although there is a definite necessity to discuss the issue of racism and its exclusionary nature, what we are seeing at the same time is a tendency to keep black Brazilians restricted to discussing only racial issues, having the effect of diminishing their voices, opinions and expertise in so many other areas.
This is a conclusion that Rosana Borges has come to. Borges is an expert in communications, with a Ph.D. in communication sciences and being a collaborating professor of the Aesthetic and Avant-garde research group of ECA-USP (School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo). She has garnered a wealth of knowledge over the years in her area of study, but in her assessment, she believes black Brazilians are often excluded from discussion on areas such as economics, politics, and social issues as if they can only discuss themes specifically focused on racial issues.
According to Borges, “they take black people out of public life thinking, it’s one of the most perverse faces of racism.” For her, even though the intentions may be good, the reduction is very subtle with blacks usually being reduced to the impact of racism in the personal sphere of the particular person invited to lecture, rather than its structured form.
In its treatment of black intellectual capacity, the system that now wants us to accept that it is addressing racial inequalities and the exclusion of black bodies and voices has created a new form of segregating black people all while promoting the idea that it is becoming more inclusive. Katemari Rosa, a professor of physics at the Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, has already experienced this new form of segregation and stereotyping. Rosa once described an encounter with a young woman who, at first didn’t believe she was a professor and then, accepting that she indeed was, she automatically assumed she must be a professor of Africana Studies. As if this is the only area in which blacks can excel.
To address this sort of typecasting, a number of black collective, groups and organizations are pushing forward with an objective of making it clear that Afro-Brazilians are capable in whatever area of expertise they choose. Journalism and the television in general, for example, has been one area in which one would think the nation’s citizens looked mostly like Europeans based on the actors, hosts and reporters. Below, we learn of two platforms being developed for and by black journalists over at Rede Globo, Brazil’s top television network.
Diego Moraes, Rafaelle Serafim and Marcos Luca Valentim
Black journalists from Brazil, come together to create important platforms to deliver programming from the black perspective
By Jorge Santana and Ranyelle Andrade
In the midst of a discussion about the importance of black representation, Grupo Globo has launched a new podcast made up of all black journalists. Addressing demands for representativeness, empowerment, work and talent, the Ubuntu Esporte Clube is a project that includes the presence of Rafaelle Serafim, Diego Moraes, Marcos Luca Valentim, Pedro Moreno and Thales Ramos. In it, the members discuss sports, culture, politics and other subjects from an Afrocentric perspective. The programs will be made available within the GloboEsporte.com platform.
The name chosen, “Ubuntu”, is an African expression that means “I am because we are”. The team reached the title believing that it is part of an improvement of the world and the community. Because of this, they felt that there was a lack of different perspectives on subjects that they like, affect, bother and thrill them in everyday life. Despite not being the central theme of the podcast, racism will not stop being an issue when the subject is in vogue and it is necessary to discuss it. The platform will serve to debate various topics from the point of view of black people.
“It’s a place for us, black men and black women journalists, to speak far beyond the racial agenda, because the system as a whole sees us only in this space: specialists in racism. And no, we are specialists in several things – including sports, which is our direct area of activity within Grupo Globo. If the biggest names in the history of the sport are black people – Pelé, Simone Biles, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt … -, it’s only fair that we have a space to expose our vision on this too,” says Marcos Lucca Valentim, one of the leaders of the black collective of Grupo Globo.
The first episode is now available on Globo’s sports website and features well-known journalist and comedian Maíra Azevedo, better known as Tia Má, as a guest, who explains the meaning of the term Ubuntu.
Black journalists from brazil, Globo fight for more representation on TV
The black population represents 54% of Brazilians, but still finds obstacles to occupying spaces on television. Most of the names known for overcoming social stigmas and gaining a certain role are on Rede Globo.
In addition to being one of the first to break the prejudice barrier, the network supports an initiative by employees to promote more diversity in the company.
Led by a group of black employees at the station, including Globosat journalist Marcos Luca, Diaspora encourages black protagonism in journalism, cinema and entertainment.
All with the consent and support of the company.
Representativeness on TV
Still, there is a long way to go for TV broadcasters to make programming more representative for Brazilians. According to a survey by Léo Dias, a columnist for Rádio Metrópoles, there are broadcasters with just two black representatives.
Globo TV said it was very difficult to calculate at the moment, but this issue is part of the premise of the broadcaster’s existence.
At the Band television network, there are only two blacks on the screen on national television.
The RedeTV network recalls that it was the first TV to have a pair of black newscasters, says that currently, in addition to Netinho de Paula, they claim to present the program Trace Trends, which presents trends in black and urban culture.
SBT calculates at just over 30, basically all in the dramaturgy sector.
The Record TV network didn’t comment.
Note: In the story below, journalist Marcos Luca Valentim recounts and encounter he recently had and reveals why it is so important that young black people are able to send people who look like them working in the areas in which they would like to excel. As we’ve seen in other stories, black Brazilians take note when they see people who look like them in prominent positions (see here). Seeing such representation is key to a people who have been undermined for centuries in overcoming the idea that they cannot succeed.
I was at Congonhas airport waiting for my flight back to Rio after three days of work.
I had gone to a broadcast of a UFC.
In the lobby, the dread of getting on the plane threatens to consume me.
A woman nudges me minutes before I put an anxiolytic inside.
“Hi, are you Marcos?”
I turn around to see who’s calling me. I don’t know.
– “I am.”
“Oh, wow! I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while, and my son adores you. He has also folloed you since that Army post and says he wants to be a journalist just like you.”
It took a minute before it hit me.
-“Really!? How old is your son?”
“15. He is very intelligent.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I froze.
“Well, I’ have to go. He’ll be happy when I tell him I met you.”
– “What’s his name?”
“It’s Marcos too.”
– “Send him a big hug.”
We said goodbye, and she headed away. I was perplexed for a few moments yet. Then I popped the anxiolytic and went to find my ticket in my backpack pocket. (…)
In Rio, a message arrived on my Instagram. It was the boy. I’ll look here to reproduce the words accurately. “Speak, namesake. Good evening. My mom said she met you at the airport today. I’m a big fan of yours.” We started to talk from there, and I discovered that @mvini.ferreira is a sports fan, studies at IFRJ and lives in Belford Roxo. I asked him what he thought about knowing the place where I work. Two months later, that day came.
After a brief tour, farewell time. Tight hugs, thanks and promises.
@ Vanessavicente.ferreira texted me soon after and said that my namesake was almost crying when he left.
Wow, man … What a day!
mvini.ferreira, my friend, I repeat everything I told you: if your dream is really to work here, I will be here waiting for you. There are people trying to open the accesses, trying to create these bridges. We will be everywhere. Study, dedicate yourself, graduate and come. And when that day comes, who knows…I think I’m going to cry.