Note from BW of Brazil: Can’t wait to see this documentary! It originally aired on public television back in May but as I hadn’t heard about it, I missed it. Anyway, it touches on many of the very issues that are covered and dealt with on this blog: racial identity, racism, violence against black population, the “place” in Brazilian society reserved for black people. From the clip that I watched (see below) there’s nothing absolutely shocking about the film. The only thing that really caught my eye was the comment made by one of the women. Denial and escape from blackness in reality remains an issue in Brazil and sometimes one meets people in which, based on their extent of racial mixture, you can actually understand how they may not know which box to check in terms of racial classification. But for others it’s like, get real! When I first read the write up on this story and I read the comment made by Janaína about being the “first black person in her mother’s family and first white person in her father’s family”, I assumed from the photos that she was the other woman, Manoela, because her skin is lighter. But then I watched the clip and realized who was who and I was like, “really?” Are my eyes deceiving me? In what country would Janaína be considered white? Take a look at the photos below for yourself. But, oh well…”Coisas do Brasil” (A Brazilian Thing)….See the trailer below (in Portuguese)
Documentary “A Pele Negra” (Black Skin) wins honorable mention in journalism award; investigates what it’s like to be black in Brazil
Caminhos da Reportagem shows how it is to ser negro (be black) in the country (TV Brasil)
“A Pele Negra” (Black Skin), an episode of the Caminhos da Reportagem program, on TV Brasil, received an Honorable Mention in the 36th Prêmio Jornalístico Vladimir Herzog de Anistia e Direitos Humanos (Vladimir Herzog Journalistic Prize for Amnesty and Human Rights), in the documentary category. The program aired in May, during the week of the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, and showed how racial prejudice is still a reality in the country.
The report displays testimonials from several people that reveal the violence – physical or veiled – of which they are subjected because of black skin. Among them are the relatives of Amarildo (Dias de Souza, construction worker who disappeared after being arrested by Military Police of the UPP – Police Pacification Unit in the Rocinha favela, in Rio de Janeiro) and Cláudia (Ferreira Silva, the woman that, dead, had her body dragged on the ground by a Military Police car in Madureira, also in Rio de Janeiro). They say what they suffer because of being black, and at the same time, residents of poor communities. They also reveal that prejudice is not only about skin color.
In addition, the documentary talks with people who have African origin, fair skin, cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair) and many doubts when declaring themselves negras. The report also features researchers who also testify: Blacks are the biggest victims of the Military Police in (the states of) São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.
The director of the episode, Bianca Vasconcellos says that “it was shocking to see that blacks suffer so much with racism in the country of mestiçagem (racial mixture) that is difficult for them to identify their own skin color.” To her, “receiving an Honorable Mention of the more important awards in the area of Human rights is the certainty that our team is in tune with the work of a public TV.”
The producer Thaís Rosa, meanwhile, reports that the team effort was to address the issue in the broadest possible way, in order to know where racism is. “We found that it is in all sectors of society,” she says. Luana Ibelli, also producer of the program, adds: “It was a learning experience to participate in the documentary with a super important issue that doesn’t find much space for discussion.”
Caminhos da Reportagem (Paths of Reporting) interviewed young people from the middle and upper middle class, university professors, residents of Rocinha and Madureira (Rio de Janeiro).
“I’ve dated a guy who loved to boast about how I dance the samba. Except that when I came home he told me ‘you’re not all that,’” says Manoela Gonçalves, mother and stylist. She is part of the statistic of the last IBGE census: black women are the least likely to marry.
“I am the first pessoa negra (black person) in my mother’s family and the first branca (white person) of my father’s family,” says Jay Janaína Viegas, also used to be the only black in private schools.
This is the third consecutive year that the TV Brasil has received an Honorable Mention award that honors the journalist Vladimir Herzog, murdered under torture by agents of the military dictatorship (1964-1985). The awards ceremony will be held on October 29 at Tuca, Theatre of the Catholic University of São Paulo.
Trailer: A Pele Negra