Note from BBT: Just to keep it 100, I haven’t been a fan of any type of reality show in probably 20 years. To tell you the truth, I can’t even name the last reality show I really followed. Wait a minute. I can remember of few now that I think about. But the names of these programs will give you an idea of just how long I’ve been totally disconnected from these types of human spectacles. I do remember watching a few episodes of the 2006 program Flavor of Love featuring Public Enemy hype man Flava Flav and marveling at far low he was willing to go to be relevant again or see his name being mentioned in the American cultural landscape.
Watching “The Flav”, his viking cap and his antics with co-star Brigette Nielson really made me wonder why I even bothered turning on the TV at the time. I also remember watching a few episodes of the programs For the Love of Ray J. (2009) and BET TV’s College Hill (2004) and an episode or another of the Real Housewives and Love and Hip Hop series, but again, the few episodes of these shows that I saw made me realize just little I really needed television. I mean, this is what people are like out there? I think I’d be happier in my little bubble outside of TV land.
Given Brazil follows and imitates nearly every thing that comes out of the United States, it was inevitable that such programs would catch on in Brazil. Again, as I’m simply not impressed with the lengths that people seem to be willing to go for a little bit fame and fortune, my connection with Brazil’s reality programs usually come from media reports and generally, I only pay attention to this some episode or some incident touched on some aspect of race. If not, generally, I ain’t the one.
The rise in popularity of these programs in Brazil seems to have increased simultaneously with black demands for representation that often times end up celebrating when the first black man or woman accomplished something in any given area. With this push for black representation in the media, 2020 has indeed been a year for Afro-Brazilians to celebrate if we just consider reality TV shows alone.
Again, I’m not a fan of reality TV but at the same time I understand how popular they are with television viewers. But even as I’ve never been glued to any television to see the outcome of a reality show, there are two reasons that I have somewhat of an interest in them.
One, as this blog analyzes Brazil from the perspective on race, there is always something playing out in terms of race on these programs. Participants on these shows are simply representative of the Brazilian population and their views toward the issue of race often end up coming out in form or another. The second reason I have at least a passing interest in these shows is that they are yet another gauge of the changes in the actions, activity and progression of the black population.
I can remember some years ago, on one of the seasons of Brazil’s top reality show, Big Brother Brasil, one of the black participants was facing elimination and he made an appeal for the support of black community. He did get eliminated, but I remember feeling at that time, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, that there still wasn’t a real sense of solidarity within the black population. Since then, I perceive a notable change as black Brazilians are increasingly looking out for “their own”, protesting the treatment of “their own”, supporting “their own” and demanding more representation of “their own”.
Recent victories of black contestants on a number of these reality shows are a clear example of this.
In 2020, black participants were big winners on many of Brazil’s reality shows
By Lucas Diniz
In a year marked by extreme cases of racism in Brazil and worldwide, the main reality shows watched by Brazilians had black winners in 2020. As a reflection of the anti-racist struggle, the winners of the programs have represented the majority of the Brazilian population, who call themselves black.
Big Brother Brasil, The Voice Brasil, The Voice Kids, Dança dos Famosos, A Fazenda, MasterChef Brasil, Canta Comigo Teen and The Circle Brasil are the Brazilian reality shows that had blacks as winners.
On BBB 2020, Thelminha won over the country with her charisma and strong personality. It made the Brazilian people elect the doctor with a massive vote. Competing with two other participants, Thelma got 44.1% of the votes. She took home BRL 1.5 million.
Another expressive victory in representation and votes was that of Kauê Penna, on The Voice Kids. Competing with two other finalists, the boy had more than half the votes: 50.5% for the 14-year-old singer.
Also on The Voice Brasil, but now in the adult edition, we had the victory of Victor Alves, with 34% of the votes, competing with three other candidates. In addition to the title of champion, the singer took BRL 500 thousand home and a contract with Universal Music.
On the A Fazenda reality show, singer Jojo Todynho won the program’s final and defeated her main opponent: MC Biel, with whom she starred in heated debates, including on racism and reverse racism. This year’s edition of the show was one of the most popular and had, in the final alone, more than 1 billion votes. Of these, 52.54% chose the funkeira (funk singer) as the winner.
For MasterChef Brasil, an adapted version was made because of the pandemic. Every week, the program had eight new participants and a new champion. Until the week of this publication, the culinary reality show had three black people as winners. They were: Hailton Arruda, in the first episode; Dayanna Gizella, in the 16th episode; and Luiz Carlos, in the 21st first episode. Each won BRL 5,000 on Picpay and a full scholarship for undergraduate or graduate studies at Universidade Estácio.
Brazil’s newest reality show, The Circle, launched in March this year, had as its first winner a black woman. Marina Gregory won the prize of BRL 300 thousand, being elected the most popular of the participants.
The Dança dos Famosos segment of the Domingão do Faustão variety show, and Canta Comigo Teen, from the Hora do Faro variety show, had as winners the actress Lucy Ramos and the singer Sidinho, respectively.
Source: Ceara Crioulo