Note from BBT: As record death tolls from Covid-19 continue to rise making Brazil the global epicentre of the pandemic, in a period of two weeks, three well-known Afro-Brazilian entertainers succumb to the virus.
It’s been a while since I’ve done any reporting on how Covid-19 is affecting Brazil because, for me, the news has simply been too depressing. President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis has been an absolute failure and it seems that everytime I hear new about the situation, there’s been another reporter of record-setting deaths from the virus in a 24-hour period.
According to official numbers, Brazil has reported 13 millions cases of the virus with 331 thousand deaths, second only to the United States in both. The ongoing health emergency has only been exacerabated by the political situation involving the President.
As has been known for some time, Bolsonaro has continued to downplay the severity of the virus even as the bodies continue pile up by the tens of thousands. Facing criticism for his handling of Covid-19, Bolsonaro dismissed Minister of Defense Fernando Azevedo e Silva, which in turn led to the heads of the army, the navy and the air force all resigning in protest. The exits by so many military leaders at the same time is historic in Brazil, which has never seen a crisis in such proportions.
IUC units of hopsitals across Brazil are being stretched to their capacity as the country is now reporting over 80,000 new cases every day with the consequences of the P.1 variant that is driving the second wave spreading beyond Brazil’s borders and affecting surrounding countries. With March coming to a close, Brazil set yet another record registering more 3,000 deaths in one day.
For Bolsonaro, Brazilians needed to just “chega de mimimi” (stop whining) because “Não adianta ficar chorando” (it’s no use to keep crying).
But the tears continue to flow as the nation’s so-called leader continue to show the insensitive, ill-prepared character that he has shown to be. I always say that a crisis always affects you a little a harder when it strikes close to home. Last week, a cousin of the wife of one of my wife’s cousins passed away at age 39, another victim of Covid. As her husband died only four years ago, her two teenage children now have no parents.
Over the past year, we’ve also seen a number of celebrity victims of the pandemic. Recently, in a period of two weeks, March 21st to April 3rd, three well-known Afro-Brazilians passed away.
Actor Edson Montenegro has appeared in a number of novelas throughout his career, and even though I knew the name, I couldn’t place where I most remembered his face. Then it hit me, he played the father of Buscapé (Rocket) and Marreco (Goose) in the 2002 blockbuster film Cidade de Deus (City of God).
Being a fan of many genres of Brazilian music, I was of course familiar with singer Agnaldo Timóteo, but I can’t say that I was a fan. Having flipped countless used record stores bins in my years discovering Brazil, I had seen countless album covers with Timóteo’s image on the covers. His sound struck me as something similar to that MOR-type of Engelbert Humperdinck or Barry Manilow style that in Brazil is known as Brega, not exactly my cup of tea, but he was well-known and loved by Brazilian music fans.
Actor João Acaiabe is yet another face I’ve seen online, in magazines and in various television series. As I’m not a big fan of Brazilian television, I can’t really go into detail of any of my favorite roles of his, but with the outpouring of tributes coming from the Afro-Brazilian community, it is clear that the B-list actor also touched many people.
Two weeks, three victims, three age brackets, 60s, 70s and 80s. Below are brief sumaries of each.
Actor Edson Montenegro dies of Covid-19 in São Paulo
Edson participated in the movie City of God (2002) as Buscapé’s father. Currently, Edson was in the stage production Donna Summer Musical, in São Paulo
Courtesy of Correio Braziliense
Actor Edson Montenegro died on Sunday, March 21, at age 63, victim of Covid-19. The information was confirmed on social networks of the actor’s daughter, Juliana Tavares. Edson was hospitalized at Hospital Paulistano in São Paulo’s Bela Vista neighborhood, intubated due to the compromise of his lungs. “My father rested,” she wrote.
Edson participated in the movie City of God (2002) as Buscapé’s father. He also acted in novelas (soap operas) such as Apocalypse (TV Record, 2017), Cúmplices de um Resgate (SBT, 2015) and the miniseries Dona Flor e seus Dois Maridos (TV Globo, 1998). Currently, Edson was in the Donna Summer Musical starring Karin Hills, in São Paulo.
In an interview for Patrícia Kogut’s column, in O Globo newspaper, this Saturday (20), Leonardo Tavares, Edson’s son, said that his father was hospitalized two weeks after being contaminated. He already had 55% of his lungs compromised by the disease.
Singer Karin Hills (ex-member of the group Rouge), who acted with the singer in the musical about singer Donna Summer, lamented the actor’s death on her social networks. “Go with God, my little play father father. You will be greatly missed.
Agnaldo Timóteo, 84, dies of covid-19 in Rio
Singer was hospitalized since March 17
Courtesy of Agência Brasil
This Saturday (3), the singer Agnaldo Timóteo, victim of the covid-19, died at the age of 84. He had been hospitalized since March 17, in Rio de Janeiro. The news was confirmed in a note published by the artist’s family.
“It is with immense regret that we report the death of our dear and beloved Agnaldo Timóteo. Agnaldo Timóteo didn’t resist the complications resulting from the covid-19 and died today at 10:45. We are convinced that Timothy did his best to win this battle and won it. Agnaldo Timóteo will live forever in our hearts,” said the family.
Originally from Caratinga, in the state of Minas Gerais, he was still young when he went to Rio in search of opportunities, where he was helped by legendary singer Angela Maria, having recorded his first album in 1961, at the age of 25.
Owner of a powerful voice, his career was strengthened, until bursting onto the charts in 1967, with the album Obrigado Querida, with the song “Meu Grito”, by MPB king Roberto Carlos, ranking first in the main radio stations in the country. The album also came with two great successes of his career: “Mamãe Estou Tão Feliz” (Mamma) and “Os Verdes Campos da Minha Terra”. According to Agnaldo himself, Meu Grito consolidated his career.
His popularity was based on a romantic repertoire and his vocal power. He had a captive audience all over the country, playing shows that filled the auditoriums with his fans.
He recorded 64 albums in his career. In January of this year, he led a charitable presentation over the internet at the feet of the famed Christ the Redeemer statue, one of his last public appearances. He was a fanatic fan of Botafogo futebol team, a club that released a note lamenting his death.
The singer also walked the political path having occupied a number of political offices since the early 80s from federal deputy (congressman) to city councilor representing various political parties. His political career endured until 2012 when he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies (House of Representatives) which led to a return to his music career.
Known as Chico from the novela Chiquititas, actor João Acaiabe dies at 76 as a result of Covid-19
Courtesy of Notícias da TV
Actor João Acaiabe died in the early hours of Thursday (1st) due to Covid-19 complications. The artist was admitted to the Hospital Prevent Senior, in São Paulo, to treat the virus infection since March 15.
Larissa Acaiabe, the actor’s cousin, confirmed the information to the Notícias da TV website. Thays Damazio Acaiabe, João’s daughter, announced her father’s death on her Facebook profile.
“And we spent our last Christmas together. My dearest father, my love, I didn’t know it was our last Christmas in this plan, it was a happy Christmas as it always is when we meet, just the two of us, food, movies and books. I will keep in my heart everything we experienced and the reference you are to our family! Gratitude, my father. May the spirits of light receive you in Aruanda until we meet again, because soul mates never part ways!” wrote the heiress.
On social media, friends of the television veteran paid tribute. “Another love that left tonight, João Acaiabe, our greatest Griot”, lamented actor Ailton Graça on Instagram.
“My dear friend João Acaiabe, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing so much joy and bringing so much love into my life! Losing co-existence with his tenderness causes me a deep pain,” published the actor’s friend, Monica Trigo, on Facebook.
João was known for giving life to characters like Tio Barnabé of the children’s program Sítio do Picapau Amarelo (2001-2006) and also to chef Chico in the remake of the Chiquititas novela (2013-2015).
Last Wednesday (31), João’s family had already commented on the artist’s hospitalization. “At his request, he asked the family not to disclose the fact to prevent his thousands of friends, admirers from sending a large amount of messages, phone calls and because, deep down, he believes he would overcome the coronavirus. In the last few days, however, his clinical condition worsened and he was transferred to the ICU, intubated,” explained a part of the note.