Note from BBT: How you view the changes coming out of Brazil these days in terms of racial representation will greatly depend on how you see things and your personal politics. I’ve written in numerous posts that there is simply no way one can ignore the rise of Afro-Brazilians in the media, on college campuses, in the world of fashion, entrepreneurship and several other areas. Simply put, it’s a fact. But as the saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Here it is 2021 and black Brazilians are still battling the mainstream media in its depiction of black Brazilians as subservient slaves and presenting the narrative as if it’s historically accurate. The difference here, which is the change, is the number of Afro-Brazilian voices who have voiced such dissent with this portrayal that the nation’s top television network has agreed to make changes to the plot and script in the latest novela set in the slavery era.
I’ve long believed that if black people want to see real change, they will need to be the ones that set that change in motion. And in many ways, this is what I’ve been seeing with black Brazilians. Their voices, demands, protests and open dialogue and debate have clearly caught the ears of Brazil’s power structure that, even if superficially, are trying to appease leading voices of the country’s black community.
Numerous companies have announced plans to improve diversity and making black inclusion a top priority. Having done translation work for some of these companies, I’ve seen this first hand in not only the words, but also the actions of these companies. But even with all the diversity talk, I’m not one to buy into the rhetoric too easily.
After all, being from the United States, I’ve seen this game before. 50-60 years after all of the marching, protests, uprisings, civil rights advances and calls for black power and the black American population as a whole still sees itself at an enormous disadvantage vis-à-vis the white population. If you know what to look for, you know that this is all by design.
Don’t get me wrong, I welcome advances and today’s story is yet another example of how black demands have led to significant improvements in representation for black Brazilians. I mean, seeing programs written, produced and directed by black folks isn’t something that black Americans haven’t seen. In Brazil, it’s unheard of. In both cases though, these types of productions need to be on black-owned platforms, which is generally not the case.
Even so, Preto À Porter Project, like the content coming out of Wolo TV, should be celebrated and it is a welcome addition to the world of black media.
Preto À Porter: UOL launches series 100% written, produced, directed and hosted by black people
By Genilson Coutinho
We are a country made up of 100 million Afro-descendants. People from all corners of Brazil, who want to see themselves represented on the screen. The era is one of affirmative visibility.
In the hands of great representatives of black culture in Brazil, the UOL website is presenting a documentary series in the format of a variety show, which talks to these Brazilians without filters, offering something contemporary and ahead of our time: Preto á Porter.
UOL’s new series recovers black royalty in five thematic episodes, saluting the heritage left by African people to Brazil. It also shows that this ancestral connection is far beyond the senzala (slave quarters) or the kitchen. It is increasingly in places of prominence and power.
Created and directed by director Rodrigo Pitta, the show is lead in the studio by Helio de La Peña, but brings, besides the ex Casseta & Planeta comedian, influencers of the new generation of the black Brazilian movement: photographer and digital influencer Roger Cipó, host, entrepreneur Neyzona and historian and professor Caroline Sodré.
With interviews filmed in São Paulo, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Los Angeles, the series features a parade of special guests throughout the episodes, black personalities who give life and different colors to the themes.
Names such as musicians Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown, actor Ícaro Silva, congresswoman Benedita da Silva, justice promoter Lívia Vaz, Padre Lázaro, singer Preta Gil, Nara Gil, Vovô of Ilê Aiyê, artist Alberto Pitta, musician Jair Oliveira, chef Dadá, Uran Rodrigues, Chico Brown, Bruno Gagliasso, Adriana Varejão, singer Luciana Mello, singer-musician Mart’nália, anthropologists Paulo de Jesus and Jamile Borges are scheduled to appear on the Preto à Porter screen.
There are also anonymous guests from various professions – lawyers, doctors, anthropologists, politicians, businessmen, and engineers – who tell their stories and points of view in each episode.
The opening song that bears the same name as the series, ”Preto à Porter”, was released by the Gilsons on all music platforms in July, a partnership with the series creator and composer Rodrigo Pitta.
Preto à Porter includes the collaboration and consulting of personalities from the current black universe such as the master of lyrics and journalist Dodô Azevedo, the sociologist and historian Rodrigo França, and the Shell Award winning playwright Adalberto Neto.
The series was produced by MOV, UOL’s content producer, and the international entertainment collective TEAM O! This collective was responsible for the successes of the instaseries “Alta Sociedade Baixa”, meaning “Low High Society”, filmed at a distance during the pandemic and seen by over 20 million Brazilians on IGTV Instagram and the international tour “Made In Brazil” by the singer Anitta (Rock in Rio Lisbon, Royal Albert Hall London, and Le Trianon in Paris).
Prêt – à – Porter: an expression that has changed haute couture in fashion. Something old and of old patterns became something new, fast, and ready to wear. Haute couture gave way to street fashion, which moved and made the world go round.
Preto a Porter, a new expression born to talk about the transformation of the contemporary black world: new values, a new slant in history, a rescue of black royalty for everyone. A series about the black Brazilian people of the past, present and future.
EP 1 – LAND IN SIGHT – Black royalty has arrived
The premiere episode of Preto à Porter, brings the essence of Brazilian colonization through conversations that complement each other and show who the black people brought to Brazil are and where they came from. Interviews with black personalities in the five cities through which the series will travel sew the episode.
EP 2 – WHAT’S YOUR AXÉ?!
An episode which walks through the African influences in Brazilian religions. Candomblé or Umbanda? What do Brazilians keep in their daily lives that comes from African religions? Eating an acarajé, jumping seven waves on New Year’s Eve, throwing flowers to Yemanja, leaf-bathing, promises to Saint Benedict? And you? Do you know what syncretism is?
Ep 3 – AM I NEGUINHA?
The mixtures of Brazil. What makes Brazil a country with black people of so many different colors?! The miscegenation controversy, the beauty of black skin tones, couples of different ethnicities, children of these fruits, white father, black son. Pigmentocracy, Colorism, the 1976 Census. What are the true colors of Brazil?! In an episode full of interesting mixtures, Bruno Gagliasso and Adriana Varejão are special guests.
EP 4 – HIGH SCORE
Blacks in power. The quotation of black professionals in positions of power is increasing every day, but the struggle still goes on.
In this chapter, the series presents black professionals in positions of power who are highlighted in society for the work they do. Names like Nina Silva from the Black Money Movement, executive Rachel Maia, and Senator Benedita da Silva tell their experiences.
EP 5 – ANCESTRY
The last episode of the season has the theme Ancestrality, inviting great families of Brazilian popular music as an example of ancestral heritage from father to son, grandfather to grandson, or among blood or race brothers. Special guests shine in the episode such as the Gil Family (Gilberto Gil, Preta Gil, Francisco Gil, Nara Gil, João Gil, and José Gil), Carlinhos Brown and Chico Brown, Luciana Mello and Jair Oliveira, and Martinália are the stars of this program.
About Rodrigo Pitta
Artistic Director, Screenwriter and Composer, he was born in Brazil but is a citizen of the world. He has done work in Brazil, the United States, Latin America and Europe, with the goal of uniting talent, content and opportunity. Pitta founded in October 2018, the entertainment collective ‘TEAM O!, with headquarters in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro, providing creative content for artists in music and television.
His most recent works are Luisa Sonza’s Pandora album on the Universal Music label, Preta Gil and Glória Groove’s video “Só o Amor”, clip with Karol Conká and Johnny Hooker “Pronto pro Rolê, videos of the singer GAAB by Universal Music, clip of North American singer Jey Pearson, among others. In 2020 he was also ahead of the creation and direction of the Instaseries of unprecedented format for the IGTV of Instagram “Alta Sociedade Baixa”.
Throughout his career, he has created, directed and produced projects and events for artists such as: John Malkovich, Bjork, Madonna, Matthew Barney, Maurice Bejart, Will Ferrel (Funny or Die), Gilberto Gil, Elza Soares, Debbie Allen, Giovanni Bianco, Ratier, Vivienne Westwood, Washington Olivetto, Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival, São Paulo Fashion Week and many others. Anitta’s award-winning “Made in Brazil Tour”, which took her to Portugal and England, was also directed by Rodrigo Pitta.
The next releases are the remake of the hit musical “Cazas de Cazuzas” with his signature on the direction and script, which will premiere in September in Rio de Janeiro. Also, the musical show ‘Jantar Secreto’, meaning ‘Secret Dinner’, based on Raphael Montes’ best seller and written with the author of Bom Dia Verônica, a Netflix series. And, finally, Pitta created and directed the visual album “50 Tons da Preta”, by the singer Ruby, released by Universal Music in partnership with the photographer Bob Wolfenson, a film-fashions project shot between Salvador and São Paulo.
Source: Dois Terços