Note from BW of Brazil: With the fallout from the latest controversy over racism on the soccer field still fresh in the public’s mind, yesterday we warned you of the latest fire brewing in the Brazilian media. Rede Globo, or the Globo TV network, is the most dominant force in Brazil’s media and back in May it was announced that the network was developing a new series that was being billed as a parody of the successful American series, Sex and the City. As pointed 0ut in a previous article, the title of the proposed series, Sexo e as negas, meaning loosely “sex and the negresses”, was already enough to initiate the raising of red flags.
Sexo e as negas commercial
Brazil’s very history is based on the rape and sexual exploitation of black and indigenous women, and still today, in the public’s consciousness, women of visible African descent are believed to be best for sex or domestic work. As documented throughout this blog (see links on yesterday’s post), black women are largely invisible on Brazilian television and when they are visible they are presented as maids or sexually alluring mulatas who use their bodies to get what they want. Brancas (white women) are consistently presented as the standard of womanhood and beauty with their images overwhelmingly dominating the media (for example, see here, here and here) (1).
The outrage caused by simply the title of the new series reached new heights last week as Globo TV released its first commercials to publicize the new series. And let’s just say that after watching the commercials, the worst fears provoked due to the title of the series were confirmed. Looking at the commercials, one gets the idea that all the characters of the show do is have sexual trysts with various men! The narrating voice describes one of the women as “fogo” (fire or hot) while revealing another as “normally occupied” with the accompanying visual showing the woman and a man on the verge of undressing each other in a hallway. Other visuals in the clip are also loaded with sexual situations. Needless to say, this is NOT the “more dignified representation” that Afro-Brazilian women have demanded for some time. And starting last week, they began a campaign to makes their voices heard.
Sexo e as negas commercial (2)
Within a few days of release, a campaign to boycott the show divulged through social media earned thousands of supporters and led to the show’s creator denying any racist content (of course) in the shows depictions of black women. We’ve seen Afro-Brazilian women challenge negative depictions of their image in the past few years so we will wait and see what happens in this latest case. And as the show has yet to even debut, this is sure to be only the beginning of the debate and the battle! Stay tuned and discover why Afro-Brazilian women don’t be want to be known as “Globo TV’s negas”.
Quilombo Raça e Classe repudiate new TV series
This week, Globo TV began to publicize its new series which will air in a few weeks called Sexo e as negas (by Miguel Falabella), parodying the Sex and the City American series.
The show will focus on the lives of four black women workers (a maid, construction worker, a seamstress and cook), all residents of Rio de Janeiro. Even in the face of poverty in which they live, these four women dream of finding a sexual partner and do everything for it.
Historically, we, black women, occupy the worst jobs, receive less than white men and women, and to make matters worse, when our minimum expression appears on television, it’s always in vexatious and marginalized situations. We are then treated as sex objects or as “the maids” that are part of the “comic” of the novelas; they hardly treat us like human beings with numerous expectations of life or decisive roles. And Globo only reinforces this stereotype when it shows black women as those who do not speak or when speaking should not be taken seriously because they are comical. If anyone has any doubts of that, just watch the horror show that is the Zorra Total that manages in a single program, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and elitism.
We are not objects and much less pieces of meat, where broadcasters feel the “right” to standardize and humiliate us. We from the Quilombo Raça e Classe (Quilombo Race and Class) (group), along with the MML, believe that we must put a stop to this. We must put a stop to all this racist and sexist propaganda that places us as sex objects.
Miniseries Sexo e as Negas is already the subject of three complaints in the office of Racial Equality
Courtesy of Bahia Notícias
Three complaints of racism have been received by the ombudsman of the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Seppir) because of the miniseries Sexo e as Negas (Sex and the Negresses) which is scheduled to debut on 16th of this month on the Globo TV network. Conceived to be a Brazilian Sex and the City, according to its writer Miguel Falabella, the series was not viewed favorably by the various organizations of the Movimento Negro (black movement). The dissatisfaction has led the group to create a campaign to boycott the program, the page of which can be accessed on the Facebook social network.
Women who disagree with the theme of the miniseries already have created posters against what, for them, would be considered a “negative representation” of black women. Seppir is reviewing the complaints and deciding what action will be taken, according to “Poder Online” column of the iG website. The secretariat previously solicited the Conselho Nacional de Autorregulamentação Publicitária (National Council for Advertising Self-Regulation) to suspend a Devassa beer campaign in 2011 the slogan of which said that “It is by the body that one recognizes the true negra”. The complaint was made to the Ministério Público (MP or Public Prosecutor).
Sexo e as negas creator Miguel Falabella responds to controversy on racism
By Jair Mendonça Jr.
by Jair Mendonça Jr.
The office of the Secretaria Especial da Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Seppir or Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality) received up until this Wednesday (10), seven charges of racism against the Globo TV miniseries Sexo e as negas, written by Miguel Falabella and scheduled to debut on the 16th of this month.
In addition, various organizations of the Movimento Negro in defense of the women started a campaign on the internet to boycott the program. Falabella opined on the allegations through his Facebook profile.
In the same social network, a group of women created in 5 days ago, the ‘Boicote Nacional ao Programa Sexo e as Negas da rede Globo’ (National Boycott of the Globo network program Sexo e as negas) to protest. Up to this Wednesday, the page earned more than 17,000 “likes”.
According to those responsible for the fanpage, the miniseries proposes to imitate the North American sitcom Sexy and the City, but in reference to successful women. Sexo e as negas presents women of the periphery (slums) and associates the image of blacks with poverty and menial occupations.
In the virtual manifesto, several women posted pictures with signs against the program. One of the most attention-grabbing is that of Alycia Alves de Oliveira, seven years old, with the words: “Sexo e as negas doesn’t represent my mother nor my aunts.”
After the repercussions of the case, Fallabela, on Facebook, denied that the series is biased or racist. “Sexo e as negas has no prejudice. It speaks of four women who dream, that search for the ideal love. They could be doctors and living in Ipanema, but that is not my universe in essence, as a writer,” he wrote.
He also asks: “What is the problem anyway? Is it sex? Is it the negas? The negas I will again explain, is a matter of prosody. The bahianos (Bahians, people of the state of Bahia) drag their tongue and say meu nego (my nego), the cariocas (Rio natives) drag the tongue and devour the ‘s’? If it’s the sex, why do white American women have the right to have sex and not black women?”
Carlos Alberto de Souza, representative of Seppir said, upon receiving the complaints, issued a notice to Globo of an administrative procedure. In the document information was requested and informed of the forwarding of the charges to prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro.
Seppir asked the agency to adopt the appropriate procedures (such as initiating investigative procedure) if it considers the existence of an irregularity or crime.
“The Ombudsman of Racial Equality found it odd and was concerned at seeing any kind of manifestation that reproduces racist, sexist stereotypes that it is based on the sexuality of black women, or will reinforce ideas of inferiority of those women, whether in the arts, in film or in novelas (soap operas) and serials,” said the representative.
For him, the media plays an important role in a democratic society and must act to ensure the rights of people regardless of their color/race, religious belief or sexual orientation.
“The television productions should reflect the diversity of the population in all its segments, contributing to the consolidation of a just, pluralistic and egalitarian society,” he says.
1. It is fitting to remember here that an old Brazilian saying says that “white women are for marriage, mulatas for fornication, negras for work.”