In its 10th edition, the Troféu Raça Negra, Brazil’s Essence Awards, honors Bernice King, daughter of MLK and Afro-Brazilians who shined in 2012

Afro Brazilians
Troféu Raça Negra 2012 winners

Cacau Protásio, Jean Paulo Campos, Renato Sorriso, Carlinhos Brown, Glória Maria and Bernice King

 MLK Tribute at 2012 Troféu Raça Negra 

On Monday night, November 19th, the day before Brazil’s National Day of Black Consciousness, the 10th annual Troféu Raça Negra award show took place, once again in the Sala São Paulo in São Paulo honoring those made the Afro-Brazilian community proud in 2012. Although the producers of the show like to refer to the award show as the ”Oscar” Negro do Brasil, or the Black Oscar Awards of Brazil, we tend to see the award show as somewhat more reminiscent of the Essence Awards. Promoted by the NGO Afrobrás and Brazil’s only black university, UniPalmares, the 2012 edition of the show was once again packed with Afro-Brazilian star power. 

The organizations affiliated with the show have long looked to prominent African-American figures as role models for aspirations of success of Afro-Brazilians with past shows highlighting the election of Barack Obama as the first black American president (2008) and the death of pop music icon Michael Jackson (2009). 2012 was no different as the main award of the night was given to Bernice King, a posthumous award in honor of her father, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From the 1970s to the present, Dr. King remains a very celebrated icon in the Afro-Brazilian struggle for equality. See the report, photos and videos below. 

Originally published at Caras Online

In its commemorative 10th year edition, the Troféu Raça Negra (Black Race Awards) honored Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the evening of Monday the 19th with the presence of the leader’s daughter, Bernice King. Journalist Glória Maria and actors Cacau Protásio and Jean Paul Campos were among the winners.

The Troféu Raça Negra 2012 commemorated the tenth anniversary of the biggest prize of the black community in Brazil, at an event held in the Sala São Paulo, in São Paulo on Monday, 19. The 10th edition honored Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), in the presence of Bernice King, heir to the American leader who became a worldwide icon for his struggle for social equality.

A couple present at all the previous editions of the awards ceremony, veteran actor Antônio Pitanga (73) and politician Benedita da Silva celebrated the advancement of the black community in Brazil, but reminded all that there is still much to do. “It’s great moment of blacks, to come together, to celebrate their culture,” said Benedita. “The Brazilian chip still hasn’t completely fallen. But I’m glad to see blacks standing out increasingly in different areas,” said the father of actress Camila Pitanga.

Actress/poet Elisa Lucinda, actor Antonio Pitanga

Elisa Lucinda (54) questioned the lack of space for blacks on television. “I played a villain in Aquele Beijo (novela) and had a scene where five black played opposite to me. And it was not the slave quarters. It’s good to see that we advanced, but you can’t say that prejudice has ended. It exists, even if subliminally in the minds of people,” she said.

Roberta Miranda (56) was invited to attend the awards and lamented that there is still discrimination between ethnic groups. “This should never have existed. It’s an obligation of every human being to respect and love the other. I came here because I owe a lot to the black community. I spent years of my career in Africa and Angola, where I was always well received,” she said.

Cacau Protásio

In her first year at the event, Cacau Protásio (37), who portrays Zezé in the novela Avenida Brasil, was happy for the space that blacks conquested and quoted President Barack Obama as an example. “To see an intelligent black man commanding the United States is a motive of very much joy,” she said.

Troféu Raça Negra

Clockwise from top left: Margareth Menezes, Joyce Ribeiro and Robson Caetano,

Vanessa Jackson, Jair Rodrigues and Sandra de Sá.

The awards started around 21h, with Margareth Menezes (50) singing the national anthem. Former athlete Robson Caetano (48) and journalist Joyce Ribeiro (33) were the hosts of the evening with performances of singers Luiz Melodia, Vanessa Jackson, Jair Rodrigues (73) and Sandra de Sá (57).

Luiz Melodia performs with iconic image of MLK in background

As it does every year, the Troféu Raça Negra was presented to persons of highlight of the year in the black community, including businessmen, artists and sports personalities.

Legends of Brazilian Hip Hop, Racionais MCs

“I’m very happy because I was a child actor receiving this award. My character in Carousel (TV program) shows how one should respect blacks just like everyone else,” said Jean Paul Campos, who plays Cirilo in the TV show Carousel.

Carlinhos Brown, Jean Paul Campos, Glória Maria

Cacau Protásio, the street sweeper Renato Sorriso (1) and Olympic volleyball medalists Fofão (Hélia Rogério de Souza Pinto), Fabiana (Marcelino Claudino) and Anderson (de Oliveira Rodrigues) also took the stage together to be honored, each receiving a statuette.

Top: athletes Fofão, Anderson and Fabiana

Bottom: actress Patrícia de Jesus, actor Érico Braz

With a 33 year career, Glória Maria (63) dedicated the trophy to her daughters, Laura and Maria. “I want to see them receiving this one day, being in the profession they choose,” she said.

The journalist said that throughout her television journey she struggled to show that ‘black is also nice.’ “You’re cool or annoying, but not white or black. Everybody can be equal,” said Gloria, who lamented the lack of blacks in journalism. “So many talented whites appeared during the time that I’ve been on the air and very few blacks. (A) lack of opportunity. Something is wrong in this regard.”

Actor Rafael Zulu, street sweeper Renato Sorriso, and dancer Simone Sampaio

Musician Carlinhos Brown (49), who was nominated for an Oscar this year (for his song “Real in Rio” from the movie Rio), also received a trophy. “For me it is more important because this is not an association that only rewards, but it also brings people together,” he said.

Bernice King and dean of Brazil’s only black university, Unipalmares, José Vicente

After honorees received their trophies, the main award was given to the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King, in a posthumous tribute to her father.

Bernice King, Benedita da Silva, actress Maria Ceiça,  Glória Maria, actor Nil Marcondes

“When my father made ​​the speech ‘I have a dream,’ he was not talking about an American dream, but a dream for the world. When he spoke to the children they were not his children, but all children and young people marginalized and oppressed around the world,” said Bernice.

Singer Bukassa, rapper Rappin Hood, singer Thula Mello and musician Carlinhos Brown

For her, the dream of her father was latent in the election of the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama, that was a significant achievement for mankind. “But we know how many Afro-Brazilians and African-Americans live in poverty and marginality. We can’t be satisfied as long as educational opportunities are not equal, with the same quality for all. And, in the words of my mother, freedom will never be conceded; we will have to fight for it.”



Actor Jean Paulo Campos speaks; actress Cacau Protásio and famous street sweepr Renato Sorriso display Brazilian flag

Bernice expressed her desire for the use of forces and energies, until freedom, justice and equality is achieved for all Brazilians and in particular, Afro-Brazilians.

The tenth edition of the Troféu Raça Negra honored people working in different sectors of Brazilian society. Winners were chosen by the Honors Council of the NGO Afrobras, authorities and personalities, black or not, who collaborate to exalt, uplift and promote the value of initiatives, actions, careers and achievements that have contributed to the deepening and broadening the appreciation of black people.

Below are two videos, one is a TV report of the program and the second are highlights from the show by the program Negros em Foco. They are both in Portuguese but if you’re not a Portuguese speaker, at least enjoy the visuals.

TV report from the 2012 Troféu Raça Negra here

Here is a segment of the 2012 Troféu Raça Negra  

1. Renato Sorriso gained fame working in the cleanup crew of the parades of Samba school progressions in Rio de Janeiro in 1997. Sorriso (which means “smile”, whose real name is Renato Luiz Feliciano Lourenço) caught the eye of the public when he would dance the Samba with his broom. Although he was reprimanded by his boss, he became an attraction in his own right during Carnaval. Dancing with his broom during intermissions he became a part of the parades of the famous Portela Samba School in 2009. He would go on to record TV commercials and in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he opened the ceremony of the finale of the games in the segment dedicated to Brazilian Music. Source: Wikipedia

Original date of this post was November 21, 2012; updated on June 4, 2013

 Source: Caras UOL, Troféu Raça Negra

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. wow great post, i didn't know about these awards and a national day of black consciousness that's awesome. I am so touched that MLK daughter was honored and by extension her father. when i was in bahia, i felt so welcomed and being in a place where Black people were the majority was like a whole different world to me and I really enjoyed my time there. i know Brazil isn't perfect, but it felt good to be able to look around and see beautiful women all around who looked just like me or at least had similar features from the darkest, beautiful shade of brown to the lightest shade of brown and everything in between, it was just a positive experience for once to have my beauty acknowledged and not be made to feel like an outsider. i know from the posts you've written there are problems with black women representation in the media, just like in the US, but it really meant something to me to be able to experience a different Black culture.i would like to learn even more about Black Brazilian women now because it seems like Black American women and Black Brazilian women have a lot in common.

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