Note from BW of Brazil: From the time we first featured a report about the infamous “Nega Maluca” character and costume several years ago, we’ve watched how the topic has gone from a “joke” in which everyone simply ignores the meaning of the stereotype and the image, to a sort of movement that questions what is acceptable as “humor” to outright rejection. Although the usage of ‘blackface’ has been present in Brazilian entertainment for decades, in recent years it has seen a simultaneous rise in usage among everyday Brazilians and entertainers as well as calls for the end of what many intepret as demeaning to black women. Similar to a surge in activism questioning Brazil’s top TV network, Rede Globo, in its continuing widespread promotion of the near-complete naked, hip-gyrating “Globeleza Mulata” and what this image says to Brazilians and millions of viewers around the world about black women, blackface has also become a hot topic for Afro-Brazilians and the issue of who has the right to say what is and what is not funny. Here at BW of Brazil we stand by what we wrote back in 2012: It’s not funny and in context of the position of black women in Brazilian society, it’s still not funny!
Why is the nega crazy?
Only one request…please…in this Carnaval don’t dress up in a “Nega Maluca” costume to enjoy the revelry. Just so you guys understand, we, black women do not find it funny when we see someone parading through the streets wearing our garments as allegory, we don’t feel “honored”, much less think it’s just a joke.
by Maíra Azevedo
A negra só ficou maluca por causa do racismo (the black woman only went crazy because of racism), her madness is the result of the years that she was (and is) treated and is not even an animal. A nega é maluca (the nega is crazy) because they still make a mockery of her sorrows, a nega é maluca because today they pay her the lowest wages. A nega é maluca because when arriving at the hospital the doctors think she can handle more pain than white women and therefore she receives less anesthesia and her time in the care of the doctor is much lower. A nega é maluca because today they believe that she should only have subordinate positions. A nega é maluca because they deny her opportunities, she doesn’t have prominence in great plots. So just think about these things that I mentioned and see if this isn’t something that makes one crazy.