Note from BW of Brazil: Representation, representation, and more representation! A keyword that cannot be stressed enough on this blog. What does one do when depictions of beauty in a mainstream media that swears “we are all equal” are consistently represented by women whose ancestors look as if they came directly from Europe? And what if all of the advertisements, dolls, billboards, fashion magazines, and clothing store posters and mannequins follow the same standard? Well, increasingly, Afro-Brazilians are coming up with more and more unique ways to represent for themselves. And nowadays, with social networking being as powerful as it is in divulging and promoting independent works, Brazil’s afrodescendentes (African descendants) are no longer completely frozen out of the game. And these works will always find a place on this blog! Today, we bring you a photo layout that started off as a college project that aimed to exalt the beauty and history of African women. See the beautiful results for yourself below!
Collaboration between black women results in photographic essay that exalts African royalty
By Maristela Rosa
Imagine that you are a black woman in college. You do not have many black people around you, and as one of the few representatives of Afro-Brazilians in that space, you want to honor your origins in some way. You want to do something beautiful, big, impactful; but you can’t afford it … What are you going to do? Give up?
This was the situation in which the university student Bárbara Jadeh Procóprio saw herself. Majoring in Radio & TV, at Anhembi Morumbi University, she had the opportunity to present, in the discipline of Photography, an essay with a free theme. “At the time, I thought about African queens. I didn’t know what to do, how to do it, and where to start.
I had the idea in mind, but I was totally lost, I decided to research the subject, about Africa and how I could do an essay about it. One thing I was sure in mind was: I wanted to show an Africa that is not seen on TVs, newspapers, etc. A rich continent, never seen!” she says.
How could she give the real greatness that this idea deserved? Barbara did not know and so she turned to another proposal, something simpler. However, with a week left for the work to be handed in, the student’s restlessness grew and she resumed the theme “Rainhas Negras” (Black Queens).
If before it seemed difficult, how could she accomplish everything in a week? It is at this moment that female collaboration, among black women, made itself present and showed all its force.
In a Facebook group, Bárbara found three black women to be her role models. The student had someone who could shoot the photos, and in return, the models would have beautiful photos for her portfolio. In this same logic of mutual collaboration, makeup artist Andressa Vaz and Claudete Santos, who gave away pieces of her brand Chinue, completed the team. The chosen location was Água Branca Park, in São Paulo.
The models Larissa Naomi, Jéssica Dhandara and Andriélli Barcelos represented, respectively, the queens Nzinga (Ana de Solza), Makeda (Queen of Sheba) and Yaa Asantewaa. Nzinga represents “wealth and nature”, she was an Angolan queen, who fought for her people to the end against the slave trade.
Makeda, the famous Queen of Sheba, was a rainha etíope (Ethiopian queen), powerful, biblically quoted and exalted like the sun by her people. In the essay she represents “power and delicacy”.
Yaa was rainha mãe ganesa (Ghanaian queen mother), lover of nature and great warrior being an adviser, a figure very respected by all. She represents “paz e guerra” (peace and war).
The photographer and creator of this project, intends to expand it and represent other great African queens through her photography. For now, check out the results of the work that’s already been done.
Source: Mundo Negro