Note from BW of Brazil: November is the National Month of Black Consciousness celebrated throughout Brazil in about 350 cities with the principal day of the month being November 20th, the Day of Black Consciousness. It is the time for the reflection of the struggle of the Afro-Brazilian population in history as well as modern day Brazil. As numerous blog posts here have shown, the acceptance of natural black hair, the assumption of a black identity and the pride in connecting one’s self to African origins continues to be a struggle in a country in which the system of racism and white supremacy is both covert and overt.
We can see it in the continuous genocide of black youth by Military Police and death squads. We can see it when our young people cannot see themselves becoming doctors because society tells them that they are black and thus the medical industry is not their “place”. We see it in the constant usage of the term “macaco/macaca”, meaning “monkey” in reference to persons of visible African ancestry. We see it in all sorts of social indicators such as income and health care. We also see it in the shame and rejection of having hair that this not naturally completely straight.
But over the years a number of events and organizations (1) have emerged to challenge the standard of Eurocentrism with the goal of giving people pride in being black and having curly/kinky hair, or cabelo crespo, as it is called in Brazil. Today we feature another such event that has been growing over the past few years that has bringing change to minds of a population that has always been excluded, demeaned and under-appreciated. The event is called Encrespa Geral, which loosely means a general call to “curl up” or “kink up” or allow one’s hair be in its curly/kinky state. The report below comes from a number of sources and cities where this event has occurred since last year and continues to grow in participation all over the country.
The appreciation of black identity
The intent of the Encrespa Geral is to appreciate feminine and masculine beauty through natural hair
November 19, 2013
Alluding to the National Day of Black Consciousness, a group of professional volunteers will hold next Sunday (November 24th), the first Encrespa Geral do Vale do Aço. The event, which has gained prominence in social networks, will be held at Galpão 1 do Parque Ipanema and aims to appreciate feminine and masculine beauty through natural hair.
A video produced by Rejane Ferreira, Carla Cristina, Katia Carvalho and Erika Marques was posted on YouTube and Facebook in recent days to publicize the initiative and, since then, has been shared by many users of the networks. Free and open to any public, they say the biggest goal of Encrespa Geral is the exchange of experiences among participants.
The opening scheduled at 1pm, the event will have on its agenda deposition and debate about identidade afrodescendente (African descendent identity) in the country and the Week of Black Consciousness. In addition, workshops for wrapping turbans, makeup, haircare for cabelo crespo (curly/kinky hair) will be offered, plus tips and consultation on fashion by renowned professionals in the region. The event will end with an “aulão” (big class) of zumba.
The local organizer of Encrespa Geral, Katia Carvalho argues that the country is going through a time of changes in the social landscape, driven by popular protests, and it’s necessary for blacks to express and accept their own identity. “We talk a lot about prejudice, but very little about our self-prejudice. At this meeting we value the importance of fighting this, so that many don’t look at themselves as inferior and accept their own image. It is an initiative to for the personal appreciation of being black,” opined the sales representative.
The meeting was the idea of Eliane Serafim, a blogger of the site Encaracoladas and creator of the group, fan page and online forum titled “Cacheadas”. Next weekend, the event will have programming in all of Brazil, in the United States (Miami) and Japan (Tokyo). The proposal also brought to the Vale do Aço, to create a large gathering to celebrate the Week of Black Consciousness.
Encrespa Geral in Rio de Janeiro
November 27, 2013
11/23/2013 the Encrespa Geral of Rio de Janeiro was held, also happening in several states of Brazil and in Miami. This event was beautiful, in some places there turban workshops, a newspaper in Salvador (Bahia) published on a page some reports about this event that was created by Eliane Serafim of the group Amigas Cacheadas.
by Neiva Pena
Encrespa Geral is a social project that aims to promote encounters for inspiration for the use of natural hair, regardless of texture type, ethnicity, skin color or age, as well as supporting people who have decided to choose this path. In the encounters debate tables on consciousness, exhibitions and workshops in peace and harmony are held.
Encrespa Geral earned the support of the Urbi- Crespas e Cacheadas project, as they move toward the same goal, also having membership in several cities in Brazil and abroad.
In November 2013, encounters were held in the following cities: São Paulo, Miami, Belo Horizonte, Florianópolis, Recife, Maceió, Natal, Ipatinga, Salvador, Brasília, Manaus, Curitiba and Brasília.
In March of 2014 we had the second edition of the event with the participation of 13 cities with more than 1,100 participants.
We had encounters in the cities of:
- Goiânia (30 participants)
- Salvador (90 participants)
- Belo Horizonte (170 participants)
- Ipatinga (25 participants)
- Juiz de Fora (22 participants)
- Rio de Janeiro (90 participants)
- Recife (40 participants)
- Natal (15 participants)
- Maceió (40 participants)
- Brasília (124 participants)
- Manaus (45 participants)
- São Paulo (300 participants)
- Londres (05 participants)
For the realization and structuring of the work, Encrespa Geral has a committee of more than 50 people in various cities of the country and occupations. All work involved in the project is voluntary. And the success is due to the commitment and willingness of all participants.
The knowledge of natural hair is a journey in terms of experience not just for aesthetics. But the feeling of self-knowledge in the mirror and often times reconnect with the roots. It is a process of self-acceptance that causes several other changes around whoever experiences it. There are several testimonials from people who attended the meetings, revealing that they experienced a totally new feeling of inclusion, where one recognizes herself in the people around her.
The work will not stop here, because we have a mission to create the opportunity for more people to experience this. For having the inspiration, they can reassess until what point the use of chemicals is seen as imperative and goes on to become optional. For having knowledge and inspiration, people can have the freedom of choice. So that we have the opportunity to come together to generate the recognition that media and social rules don’t provide us in functions of prejudice that makes no sense. So we can start to construct in our little work, a new part of the story.
Encrespa Geral Brasília
March 29, 2014
On the 23rd in Brasília the Encrespa Geral took place. This was the sixth meeting of the crespas (curly/kinky) and cacheadas (curly) that we had here, and Encrepsa Geral for the second time.
We chose a covered place because we are in the rainy season here, that time of year when we leave home and don’t know if it will rainy or be sunny…so it’s better safe than sorry.
This time we gathered 124 crespas, crespos, cacheadas, mini-cacheadas, girls in transition and supporters …Happiness defines our feeling!
The 3rd edition of Encrespa Geral has already begun and is better every year and attracting new participants. The meetings are taking place in 18 Brazilian cities, Ipatinga, Manaus, Campo Grande, Viçosa, Juiz de Fora, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Maceió, Feira de Santana, Juazeiro, São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Brasília, Recife, Natal, Fortaleza, Joinville, Salvador, and three countries, Ireland, England and Australia.
In Belo Horizonte, the third edition of the event was held on Sunday, October 19, at Uai Shopping and this year with the support of Bio Extratus and the presence of Miss Minas Gerais Karen Porfiro, a beautiful representative of all the beautiful curly heads who attended the event.
Source: Diário do Aço, Bruna Caixeiro, Neiva Pena, Pitacos da mãe, Amo Bio Extratus
1. See for examples Meninas Black Power, Feira Preta, the black women writers of the Blogueiras Negras collective, and the Festival Latinidades, for example.
This is SO beautiful to see all these Black women ENJOYING their luscious, natural crowns that are unique in a way that virtually no other group can own. I am hoping to see at least one/some of these women create a nationally recognized product line for African hair in it’s most natural state! So far, I have only seen products that “loosen the curls” (i.e. texturizers and relaxers) and “hydrating” products that are basically jheri curl juice from back in the day! I have been able to find some product that are basically like old school hair grease (sold as an “anti-frizz” product for women with looser curls) so that is promising! I also hope to see more Black hair salons popping up all over the country. I have read some stories about these, but I hope that these women are REALLY able to move further in empowering themselves and the communities in which they live, by circulating their “hair money” only amongst themselves! 😀
Beautiful people, gorgeous hair, wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this 🙂