Note from BW of Brazil: A common question/battle by black Brazilians in many genres of society is “Onde estão os negros?”, meaning, ‘where are the black people?’ Television, film and advertising are but a few areas where the under-representation or complete invisibility of Brazilians of visible African descent are very obvious. It’s quite easy to pick up any magazine on a newsstand, flip through the pages and not see a single black face, whether as models or in the advertisements. As we have heard for a number of years, within these industries, there is an underlining ideology that says that ‘blacks don’t sell‘ or having blacks representing a certain product will scare away the parcel of the population that the market really represents: white people. It’s as if black people don’t matter or that they don’t have the right to be seen or see themselves as beautiful. It’s an issue that needs to be discussed and more and more Afro-Brazilians are asking the question. (See more photos from this photo shoot on our Tumblr page here).
Couple questions racism in Brazil in highlighting the beauty of those most ignored: black people
Courtesy of the newsroom of Hypeness
If we were to observe the number of blacks that are part of the fashion world – or even in the labor market – we will find a very low percentage. But what justifies this? In Brazil are there no dark-skinned people?
It was the same question for which a couple (Cláudio and Victoria) from Salvador, Bahia, decided to open the beauty salon Mukunã Dreadlocks, a company that wants to empower black people through the representation of the Rastafarian hair.
And it is exactly this kind of hairstyle that most suffers repression in Brazil. The idea of Mukunã, after all, is to show different types of colors and styles that each dread can have, strengthening African culture. Inclusive of the fact that ‘Mukunã’ means ‘hair’ in Yoruba, a language spoken in the south of the Sahara in Africa.
Recently, the Brazilian photographer Kelvin Yule got together with Victoria and Cláudio for an photo shoot using modelos afrodescendentes (models of African descent). And seeing these images, we reiterate the question: why are there so few blacks on the catwalks and in advertising campaigns?