Note from BW of Brazil: A lot of black Americans that I know often ask me when is the best time to visit Brazil. Usually I’ll first ask them what it is that interests them about the country. I’ll then ask which city or state they would like to visit. If they respond that they have an interest in expressions of Afro-Brazilian culture, I immediately answer that the month of November has the most to offer. In many cities throughout the country in this month there are countless displays and celebrations of black culture. There are musical performances, products affiliated with black culture and identity, workshops on taking care of natural black hair, braiding classes and increasingly, workshops on how to wear turbans. Today, of course, is the day that is the culmination of a month long celebration of black consciousness. The day that Brazilians remember the struggle of Zumbi dos Palmares, the legendary 17th century quilombo leader who is recognized as the country’s greatest black representative of the black struggle. Below are just a few things that are or already went down in Rio.
Fashion events and culture mark the week of black consciousness in Rio de Janeiro
It’s not only on the Day of Zumbi that Black Consciousness is celebrated. Throughout the week, events will mark the date.
Courtesy of Extra
The Prazer de ser negro (pleasure of being black), afternoon of beauty, culture and leisure with wrapping workshops, with Vall Neves; children’s maracatu, with Aline Valentim and African dance with Carlos Muttalla. In addition, there will be story circles with Aline Valentim and Fábio Simões, trade show exhibitors and runway with the Varal da Val brand, etc. This Saturday, November 15th, from 14h to 22h, the court of Morro dos Prazeres in Santa Teresa.
5º encontro de cacheadas e crespas do Rio de Janeiro (5th encounter of cacheadas and crespas (curly and kinky/curly)) of Rio de Janeiro. With the theme “Valorização do crespo” (Appreciation of curly/kinky), the event will have a picnic, raffle giveaways, live music and a lecture on the appreciation of cabelo crespo. Sunday, November 16, from 10am to 18h, the Quinta da Boa Vista.
1º encontro da comunidade Preta&Gorda (1st encounter of the Preta & Gorda (Black and Fat)) Picnic, poetry, afroempreendedorismo (Afro entrepreneurialism) with a nice chat about quilombismo, racism, and gordofobia (loosely meaning “fat-phobia”) and a workshop with Colares D’Odarah (D’Odarah Necklaces) and Boutique Krioula. Sunday, November 16th, from 2pm to 6pm at Aterro do Flamengo
Odarah Bazaar, a project consisting of the promotion and appreciation of afroempreendedorismo, focusing on fashion, art, education and food markets. Saturday, November 22, from 11am to 7pm in Febarj (Av. Mem de Sá 37, Lapa). To attend the workshop, just buy a turban, which costs between R$20 and R$30.
Carreta Beauty School at Vila Kennedy, West Zone of Rio de Janeiro, will host a special feature of Carreta Beauty School of Senac Rio de Janeiro (RJ). On the eve of the holiday, November 19 (Wednesday), Senac RJ will offer free Afro hairstyles and makeup tips for dark skin in the beauty space. The feature will be held from 8am to 3pm and the service capacity is up to 30 participants. To register, interested should arrive directly in the trailer on the 18th of November (the day before the event), from 8am on Avenida Etiópia, no number – Next to the headquarters of the UPP Vila Kennedy.
Week of black consciousness – turban fashion invasion, without leaving out the African traditions
The African aesthetic is increasingly fashionable. After consolidating the tendency of assuming the natural roots of the hair, the turban is another form of fashion exalting crioula origins, celebrated on Thursday, the Day of Black Consciousness. Like a crown, open or closed, the wraps are part of the head of women with attitude, whether white or black. (1)
“The use of the turban has a strong history of African culture. We are not only the descendants of slaves. These people were kings, queens and warriors in another continent. When fashion adopts these wraps, it provides a service to the black community and African culture. Aesthetically with the turban, we have purple, pink, multi-color “hair”… – jokes Fabiola Oliveira, creator of D’Odarah necklaces which offers monthly turban workshops.
Fashion student Anastácia Gabriel, 24, likes to stamp her “black consciousness” on what she wears.
“The turban is part of my daily life, even as an alternative to when my cabelo black (afro) isn’t done,” says the Vila da Penha resident.
Turban at the altar
Almost a year ago, the Igreja São Paulo Apóstolo (church) in Santa Teresa, received a different bride. Turban on her head, the Rio native Thaísa Barros, 30, married Fellipe Barros, 28. The choice of the accessory had a very strong motive for the sociologist. “The turban, not to mention the aesthetics and religion, marks my identity as a black woman. It is my everyday choice, so why not use it at my wedding? This has to do with my descent from African kings and queen, the Candaces, warrior women of southern Etiópia (Ethiopia). The turban is a coronation, and to use it, I was crowned the wife of my husband,” said Thaísa, who now lives in Salvador.
Tips from the expert
You can increase the volume of the turban by placing a folded cloth on top of the head.
Best fabrics: Beginners should invest in helanca, knitted with lycra and suplex. The first two are the best for women with straight hair.
Formal locations: Prefer discrete wraps in pastels and dark tones.
Finishing: Don’t let the edges appear or the back of the fabric. While making the wrap, mend slowly.
1. It’s important to note here that while this event promotes racial neutrality in the usage of turbans, there are those who see actions such as the whitening of artists performing certain styles of music, wearing turbans, braids, dreadlocks, etc. as a form of cultural appropriation. See here and here for example.