Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day in Brazil – But among the diverse couples in commercials, why is the black woman kissing a mannequin and where are the black couples?



Note from BW of Brazil: Brazil’s media, you just have to see it to believe it! Now I’m sure there will be those people who will leave a message asking why this blog harps on such things, but those people are probably the type who see the world through very rose-colored glasses. The things we point out on this blog are very real, but it is the interpretation that will set us apart from others who will make the accusation of too much pessimism. So be it, the show must go on! Today, we focus on tomorrow’s Dia dos Namorados, which is Brazil’s equivalent to Valentine’s Day. A day in which millions of people will spend (probably) billions of reais (Brazil’s currency) in yet another shallow, capitalism-driven holiday. So how should we interpret the endless stream of commercials promoting the day? Let’s take a look…

First of all, allow me to say that I am not an avid television watcher. I do still occasionally turn the television on (more out of habit than anything else) even though for the most part I find television programming to be absolutely absurd, sensationalist, over-the-top and agenda-driven. But even in my little time of watching the ‘idiot box’, I can still come to definitive conclusions about the messages divulged on the screen. So even though I don’t have the TV connected more than say an hour per day (and even less if you only count intently paying attention), some very obvious subliminal indoctrination in terms of race catches my attention. For example…

In the TV commercials I’ve noticed over the past few weeks leading up to the Dia dos Namorados, I had to ask a question I’ve posed before: Where are the black couples? That’s not to say that there are absolutely no black couples featured in the commercials, because, as I said, I don’t watch enough TV to come to a scientific conclusion. But at the same time, I DO watch enough to opine on a pattern that I see. Let’s review…

Collage of images from Gang commercial
Collage of images from Gang commercial

In a TV commercial for the Gang clothing brand, there were an array of different types of couples, heterosexual, interracial and homosexual. I even saw black people in the commercial. Two black men and one black woman. OK. But no black couples. The first black guy was seen kissing a blond, the second was shown laying around with a white male and white female. The suggestion of a threesome of just three friends having fun? Not clear, but better than the black woman who was seen kissing a mannequin, yes, a non-human dummy! Was this the media’s slap in the face of black women that reports show have the most difficulty finding a partner in matrimony? Everyone has someone to love except for the black woman. A portrait of reality or a cruel joke? No black couple shown together case #1

Still from Sadia chicken nugget commercial
Still from Sadia chicken nugget commercial

In another clip that is not a Dia dos Namorados ad, a black woman and black boy are seen in an ad for Sadia chicken nuggets. Now of course, this is not to say that a mother and her child can’t be seen together without suggesting male absence, after all, it took a man and the woman to make the child, right? On the other hand, it is another example of the absence of the traditional black family. It also brings into play the numerous black Brazilian women who speak of being abandoned by black men after dating and/or marriage and the birth of a child. No black couple shown together case #2

Stills from Coca-Cola commercial
Stills from Coca-Cola commercial

In the third example, we see an adorable black girl featured in a Coca-Cola ad. Great right? Well, yes, but it also falls into our study because her parents are a white couple who have adopted her. No, I’m not saying a white couple can’t provide a loving home for a black child that needs the love of a family (even though statistically, Brazilian couples that adopt prefer white children), but simply it is another case in point. What is the message here? The structure of black families is in such turmoil that they cannot provide for their own children? A black child is better off with a white family? Draw your own conclusion, but it figures in as no black couple shown together case #3. 

Still from 'Sonho de Valsa - Pense menos, ame mais'
Still from ‘Sonho de Valsa – Pense menos, ame mais’

In commercial number four, Sonho de Valsa – Pense menos, ame mais (think less, love more), we again see all sorts of couples here; women kissing, elderly persons kissing, a handicapped man with his woman and even a black woman kissing her white boyfriend/husband. To cover all bases, there was a man kissing a woman in the clip that was difficult to define racially due to the angle of the shot, but the woman appeared to be white, which would mean there were two black/white couples in the ad. But as in the others, no black couple shown together, this being case #4. 

Stills from Boticário commercial
Stills from Boticário commercial

So, how should we take all of this in the context of Brazil’s history and culture? Well, first of all, without focusing much on this, it is easy to perceive that Brazil’s media seeks to increase the presence of homosexual couples on the small and big screen, as many commercials for this holiday have featured men/men, women/women either kissing or in affectionate situations. Add to that the theme of black men/white women and white men/black women and we see a clear promotion of Brazil’s long-time history of miscegenation. But as the overwhelming number of commercials overall and in Dia dos Namorados-themed commercials still feature white male/white female couples, it continues to prioritize this couple as the most valued and ideal for Brazil’s future. As we have pointed to in numerous posts, Brazil’s objective for the black race since at least the end of the 19th century has been disappearance by means of embranquecimento (whitening). In others words, race mixing until a dark-skinned black presence fades into the past. The message to Afro-Brazilians in the non-existence of black couples in these ads is simple: “if you don’t exist in the media, you don’t/shouldn’t exist in the society”/”Make it easy on yourselves and all Brazilians and whiten yourselves”. A message many black Brazilian men and women have been taught for many years. 

Below, others focused specifically on the issue of the solitude of black women in Brazilian society in the context of the commercials. See the full commercials at the bottom of this article. 

Still from 'Dia dos Namorados' commercial of Gang clothing line
Still from ‘Dia dos Namorados’ commercial of Gang clothing line

Campaigns for Dia dos Namorados (Valentine’s Day) emphasize diversity, but not so much …

By Flávia Ribeiro*

From 1888 to 2015 a lot has changed. For nearly four centuries black people were enslaved and forced to work in countries other than theirs, Brazil was the arrival point for millions of these people. They were enslaved because they were not considered “people” to the “owners”, they had no soul and did not feel pain. Ok, more than a century has passed since the Lei Áurea (Golden Law), here I am and also a lot of enslaved descendants. We are basing our struggles on ending the legacy of slavery: racism.

This introduction is necessary to explain why we don’t applaud commercials such as that of O Boticário.

I thought it was cool the idea of ​​several couples and also the “firm” response that the company gave to the homophobic, saying that it defends “love independent of age, RACE, gender or sexual orientation.”

In the commercial, there is difference of age, there are lesbians, there are gays, I just don’t see a black person whatsoever. No person to represent the group treated as minority but which forms 50.7% of the population … There are also no fat people. In other words, Boticário shows the different forms of love between well-dressed, thin white people.

On the same day, I ran into the Gang campaign being praised, there, yes, there are black people. A black boy embraces a white girl and a black woman hugging a store mannequin… I went to the store site and saw the pictures of the catalog. There are two pictures of the black model. In one she puts on lipstick and on the side of the page beside there is a man with two lipstick marks on his face. The two don’t look at each other and don’t touch each other. In another photo, she embraces the mannequin. In the video of the campaign the situation is worse. The black model only appears kissing a mannequin and nothing else. She’s unique in that she only shows affection for an inanimate being. This reinforces the idea of ​​the loneliness of black women. If you want more information about this topic, search here on Blogueiras Negras.

Then the people come, “hey, but it is hard to please you, O Boticário makes a bacanudo (really cool) commercial, but you complain. Gang comes and places black people and you also complain…How irritating, today everything is racism!”

Well, as I said in the first paragraph, just over a century ago we weren’t even considered people, today we are studying, gaining spaces and already represent more than half of the population. We are questioning many things that were once considered “normal”, such as blackface, for example, or our lack of representation in many spaces. There are new guidelines because we now have voices. Our voices meet in social media and are reverberating.

Ignore the demands of black people and de-legitimizing with this talk that “today everything is racism and/or politically correct” is a privilege that we don’t have. We study the various aspects of racism every day. We will not go back, we will continue bothering whoever resents recognizing that being in a certain position and the majority in certain areas is a privilege. And this right that was privilege is now being shared!

I already said it, but I will repeat it: we will question, we will annoy and we will not go back!

Gang and the loneliness of black women on Dia dos Namorados (Valentine’s Day)

Courtesy of the DIVAGAR É PRECISO blog


“Gang’s pants, that every woman wants, two hundred reais to lift up your ass.”

Wow, that came much before speaking of funk ostentação. Probably because it’s not the government’s consolidated PT (Worker’s Party) time when poor was miserable and couldn’t take advantage of multiple items and consumer goods, but that’s another conversation. I’m here to talk about this year. This year. 2015, Gang, a famous brand for decades, made a photo collage in which diversity in love appears. Diversity? Perhaps the diversity of Boticário, with gay couples, but no black man (straight or gay), ie, if you want to make a poster, look cool and gente boa (good people), but it made an error in an ugly way, it made an error in a crude way. Imagine, saganauta (saga-what?!) you tell me that you’re a vegetarian and, to be nice to you and interact with you to get your attention and present you with chicken sausage. It’s kinda like this, it seems that I’m taking a different attitude, but didn’t stop to the least research on the subject that pleases you.


I will explain. Gang made a collage where the only black woman who appears is kissing a mannequin. She is the only one without a partner. In any shallow research, you are faced with numerous texts that point to the black woman as the foot of the pyramid of relationships. Including here and on my other blog, Raiz do Samba em Foco. Think with me, Jeremias, the world is racist and the European created this enslaving entire peoples, instead of war enemies, as he did before, so the black and the Indian were chosen to be included in that garbage of history that they imposed on us. Hence, the world is also sexist therefore they detonated entire matriarchal societies to push this lying law that women are the weaker sex … they are not, they were only oppressed, as well as the black. So this equation, we can conclude that if you are male and white, you’re everything, not owing an explanation to anyone … at most, they will say that you don’t samba very well. And it’s true. Ha!

You notice that it is a custom to not have blacks. Like, I found one or two in a full page searches, very little for the percentage that consumes. You want our money but don’t want our face?

Then also we conclude that if you are male and black, you still have minimal support in machismo, therefore, you learned from the white man to dominate his woman, but … what about the black woman? What’s left for her? Well, my noble, the black woman takes a beating twice as she is oppressed by the white and the man. And in the count of the equation – it’s not over yet, keep following – most of the population is poor, so if we know that the majority of the population is female, then we have the majority of the population made up of black and poor women. Counting still – I told you it wasn’t over – with the clothing line – a success among funkeiros a few decades ago – we can conclude that the brand was very much loved by most black women. The same that now are “represented” “relating” herself with a mannequin.

CONGRATULATIONS, GANG! A grand prize 2015 trophy for you. If Boticário had wavered in the exclusion of blacks, you were able to overcome the feat, but not recognizing that black women also have boyfriends, in spite of society only wanting her to be an explosion in bed and an excellent bed, table and bath queen.

Damn, guys, what exotic thing do you smoke for breakfast? I even have a theory that is pure provocation, but even thinking like this, I still think it’s an exaggeration because there is a lot of money involved just to troll a specific group in society. I could have gone to the company’s page and demand a retraction, but I don’t do this, as I said, I don’t believe in innocence of these cases, and much less because I am tired of working in consumer service and know that these answers are all memorized text already saved in some Access/Excel/Word (Office or LibreOffice – Ra) database, so, I’ll keep my manifesto. Manifesto of a black man living with a black woman and that is surrounded by black relatives and friends who do not need this debauchery in life, especially on a commercial date that imposes  through the media the need to be in a relationship. I’m not of this gang of neglect and debauchery. And it’s no use placing LGBT couples there because it comes across as being forced in looking normal, since you didn’t remember that the black and consumer population is much higher in the market. A marketing research issue. A company does this, right? And did you research the public for this?

Do you understood, Gang? Do you understand Boticário? You don’t understand that blacks are more than 50% of the population and buying things. They don’t buy bullshit… I mean bullshit ALSO including items from stores that don’t see us as real people. For me, I really do boycott. I do so with great ease, and then appear on the net to say bad things. That’s what happens with brands who deliver bad things, we say bad things. An army of detractors and rightly so. Look at this picture and imagine your mother. I don’t like to appeal to this ‘and if it were you’ because I believe that respect should come from the cradle, but for us that – clearly – don’t know what it is, I send it to the can: Look at this crap that they did and they think they would even earn applause from people you represented there. And note, finally, that the black man, for a change, is with a white woman and/or as part of a three-way relationship with white people. You may even force some that it is a reflection of society but a 30-second commercial is not a socio-anthropological documentary piece, ok? So if they made this commercial from their heads, it’s not for excluding, it’s a brand, a company that profits from sales, so, until you represent right, I won’t hear or speak well of this thing. “The store that understands me”? The narrator certainly is white, because if she were black she would be very much mistaken. See here to have a notion:

Flávia Ribeiro
Flávia Ribeiro

You don’t want to show our face right, but if we enter your store, even with a crooked face, you  accept our money, right? So, can you?

* Flávia Ribeiro is a mother and reinvented herself in pregnancy: discovered herself as a feminist, reaffirmed herself as black, fights for the humanization of other people’s labor and always tries to learn more about these issues, and reconcile all this with journalism. She loves to eat, is addicted to sweets and was blessed to be born and raised in Belém do Pará, which has wonderful cuisine. Since 2014 she has signed herself as Flávia Ribeiro, an activist in construction and collaborator of the Fanpage of the NGO Artemis, started collaborating in the press office of the Centro de Defesa e Estudos do Negro do Pará- Cedenpa (Center of Defense for Black Studies of Pará – Cedenpa), and is part of the Comitê Impulsor do Pará da Marcha das Mulheres Negras 2015 (Committee of the Black Women’s March of Pará 2015) and is now part of BN (Blogueiras Negras) group.

Sonho de Valsa – Pense menos, ame mais

Coca-cola – Adoção – Linda Propaganda – Adotar Alimenta a Felicidade – Comercial 2015

Nuggets Sadia feito com 100% Peito de Frango!

Dia do amor | Gang – A loja que me entende

Source: Blogueiras Negras, DIVAGAR É PRECISO

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

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