Carnival of Rio brings several references of black culture in the Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí stadium

Performers from the Unidos da Tijuca samba school parade during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The Unidos da Tijuca samba school parade in a scene depicting Brazil’s slavery era

Note from BW of Brazil: In recent years, Carnaval themes have been another area in which Brazil’s black population has chosen to voice its grievances against the Brazilian state in its treatment of this parcel of the population descendant of Africans. And for very good reason. Brazil’s Carnaval, particuarly in Rio de Janeiro is recognized and seen by probably millions of people around the world, so what better way to share a message with the world?

In both Rio and São Paulo samba schools, Brazil’s debt to its black population and the murder of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco almost exactly one year ago, were prominently featured in this year’s parades. Get a feel for what was so great about this year’s Carnaval season in the photos and story below. 

The Império Serrano samba school paid homage to Dona Ivone Lara, one of Brazil’s greatest samba artists. Lara passed away last April

Carnival of Rio brings several references to black culture in the Sapucaí

By Ana Beatriz Rosa

The Salgueiro, Unidos da Tijuca, Unidos do Viradouro, Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Beija-Flor, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio and Império Serrano samba schools paraded.

The first night of the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro was marked by references to the traditions of cultura negra (black culture).

Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school in a scene representing Brazil’s slave past

Orixás, black panthers and slave ships gained space in the parades of the samba schools that passed through the Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí last Sunday night (3).

The Salgueiro, Unidos da Tijuca, Unidos do Viradouro, Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Beija-Flor, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio and Império Serrano samba schools paraded.

A performer from the Beija Flor samba school in Rio

Here are some highlights of the evening:

Império Serrano

The samba school opened the first day of parades in Sapucaí with a story inspired by the song. O que é? O que é?, by musician Gonzaguinha.

On the avenue, the parade gave rise to the theme of questioning the complexity of life and the various ways of living it.

In the last car, the school paid homage to singer Dona Ivone Lara, one of the most important Brazilian female sambistas (samba musician), who passed away last April.

Acadêmicos do Salgueiro

Always singled out as a favorite in Rio Carnival, this year the school raised the Sapucaí with a tribute to the strength of Xangô, the orixá that symbolizes justice and protection.

The Salgueiro samba school parade represent orixás

The last wing of the parade was highlighted. Dubbed “Justiça seja feita” (Justice Be Done), symbols of minority causes, such as the black and LGBT population, represented the country’s social injustices.

Beija-Flor paid tribute to the school itself with the theme “Quem não Viu, Vai Ver as Fábulas do Beija-Flor” (Whoever hasn’t seen, will see the Fables of Beija-Flor (Hummingbird).

To do this, it dressed its entire bateria (drum troupe) as panteras negras (black panthers) and placed it rainha de bateria (queen of the drumbeat), Raíssa Oliveira, representing Queen Agotimé, an African slave who fled and founded one of the oldest terreiros (Candomblé  temple) in the country, located in the northeastern state of Maranhão.

Imperatriz Leopoldinense

Salgueiro samba school performance at Sambodromo in Rio 

Imperatriz was the penultimate school parading in the Sapucaí. The theme of the samba was inspired by the “Me dá um dinheiro aí” (Give me some money then) marchinha.

Among the critics of the financial crisis, the school’s main highlight was the allegorical car that placed a slave ship in the middle of the avenue.

Unidos da Tijuca

Slavery was also portrayed by the Unidos da Tijuca school. With the theme “Cada macaco no seu galho” (Every monkey on its branch). O my Father, give me bread so I don’t starve to death,” the school used the most popular food on the planet as the guiding thread against the history of mankind.

Source: HuffPost Brasil


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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