Actors speak out – “Brazilian cinema is the most racist in the world”: Made with public money, blacks sponsor films of whites in which they are not included

o cinema e o c3a1udio visual brasileiro c3a9 o mais racista do mundo capa
o cinema e o c3a1udio visual brasileiro c3a9 o mais racista do mundo capa
Actors Érico Brás, Adriana Lessa, Sidney Santiago and film critic Viviane A. Suzy Pistache

Note from BW of Brazil: The secret is out, if it was ever, in fact, a secret. Black Brazilian artists, actors, directors, producers, etc. are basically frozen out of the world of film and audio-visual production. And Afro-Brazilian artists are increasingly speaking out on this issue. Last month, actor Sidney Santiago Kuanza called Brazilian cinema and audio-visual the most racist in the world and provided a clear explanation for why he feels this way. As I have long argued, Brazil has long held itself in a favorable light in terms of the racial issue in comparison to the United States, but when one analyzes the facts, it’s not hard to tell that, as unequal as the US continues to be in terms of racial representation in the media, it is still light years ahead of Brazil, a point not missed by Santiago. Echoing Santiago’s comments this month is actor Érico Brás, who expounds on the fact that black Brazilians are basically sponsoring their own exclusion as the Brazilian film industry is financed with public money and these films are made almost exclusively by white males. 

Actor Sidney Santiago Kuanza and film critic, Viviane A. Suzy Pistache recently discussed blacks in the Brazilian film-audio/visual industry on the ‘Vozes da Resistência’ program with Douglas Belchior

“Brazilian cinema and visual audio is the most racist in the world”, says actor and director

Courtesy of Brazil247

The program Vozes da Resistência (Voices of Resistance), with Douglas Belchior, received on Monday, March 5th, two personalities from the São Paulo artistic scene: the actor, director, researcher and co-founder of Cia Os Crespos, Sidney Santiago Kuanza, and the doctoral student in psychology and film critic Viviane A. Suzy Pistache.


The debate, which lasted about an hour and was broadcast live on Facebook and Youtube on TV 247, had as a hook the success of the Marvel film Black Panther, released as Pantera Negra in Brazil, but also dealt with artivism, black under-representation in film and audio-visual production with American and Brazilian parallels.

“In the US in the 1970s, the Black Panther Party supported an independent and film-making movement led by director Melvin Van Peebles, who was in charge of the 1971 film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Melvin launches a manifesto with the recipe for what he believed to be the cinema for blacks: 1 – To make a cinema about the real black and so that the black spectator finishes the movie proud 2 – The movie has to entertain like the devil 3 – Cinema is business, therefore, it has to make money. “Black Panther 2018 follows these principles rigidly and maybe that’s why it’s a success,” Viviane said.

Actor , Sidney Santiago Kuanza and film critic, Viviane A. Suzy Pistache

In analyzing more specifically Brazilian productions, Sidney was blunt: “Brazilian cinema and audio-visuals are the most racist in the world because they do not take into account their ethnic and cultural diversity.” The success of the film Black Panther shows that despite all the problems of this type of representation, we are in need of new forms and approaches.”

It was a nice chat and, for those who like debates about cinema cultural industry, it’s a must.

Érico Brás fala sobre desigualdade racial no meio artístico
Actor Érico Brás and actress Adriana Lessa

Actor Érico Brás talks about racial inequality in the artistic world: ‘Blacks are sponsoring white films that they are outside of’

By Vinícius Carvalho

The actors Érico Brás and Adriana Lessa were on the Rádio Jovem Pan Radio Show on Monday (02) and talked about various subjects.

Érico Brás fala sobre desigualdade racial no meio artístico 2
Érico Brás and Adriana Lessa are starringin the new play ‘MPB – Musical Popular Brasileiro’. The actors recently appeared on the Rádio Jovem Pan Morning Show

Érico was asked about social inequality in the artistic world. “We still need to move forward a lot. We live in a racist country that does not want to consider itself racist. This is a big problem. This disrupts the economy and a number of things in our country. Brazilian TV has been moving towards a breakthrough, the result of a series of struggles of the movimento negro (black movement) and other social movements. But I think we still lack space, because we are the majority of the population,” he opined.

“For example, Ancine (Agência Nacional do Cinema – Nacional Agency of Cinema) has now released the result of the edicts, and 98% of the films produced in Brazil are made by whites, and this comes in a great contradiction, because if the majority of the Brazilian population is black that pays the taxes and Ancine makes films with public money, blacks are sponsoring films of whites that they are outside of. It’s wrong,” he said.

“There is a great vacuum in the productions of the Brazilian audiovisual, in the theater too, right? Because, really, the big producers are not black. We need to change even more and accelerate this process of change because it is a fact,” he concluded. Adriana Lessa agreed with her colleague.

Source: TV Foco, Brasil 247

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. I’m so glad to see these film professionals and artists discussing this topic. Visual representation has profound social, political, economic, psychological, and cultural impacts, and the continuing comparative erasure, relative to their numbers in Brazil, and stereotyping of Afro-Brazilians affects not only Afro-Brazilians’ and Brazilians’ sense of themselves and their country and society, but it also shapes the perceptions of people around the globe whose ideas about Brazil result in part from the images they–we–see and internalize.

    One new and telling thing this article taught me that I did not know was how public money subsidizes Brazil’s film industry. I haven’t read a lot about it but I don’t think I’d ever seen this mentioned before. I hope O Movimento Negro and these activists and artivists can advance their goals in cinema, on TV and streaming channels, on the radio, and online, and I look forward to seeing the work they produce.

  2. This was really informative about the film and arts side of Brazil. Its a shame the Afro-Brazilian film producers only see a fraction of success. Again, I must reiterate the saying and that is we must get our own there’s too many Afro-Brazilians that’s a lot of money (Reais) to create our own empires around Brazil and establish economic power.

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