Note from BW of Brazil: The culture of the funk has been around for decades, percolating and heating up the slums of various favelas of the peripheries of major cities across the country. And the struggle of the funk has gone hand in hand with the music. There is the struggle between those who see the style and music as something of poor and black origins and that must be respected as any other culture and those who say the funk is simply trash that has no culture or value. Then there’s the struggle against sexism, female representation and the expression of sexual liberation. Then, in recent years has come the issue of cultural appropriation (see here, here and here) in which richer, whiter party organizers, many of whom probably denounced funk as trash just a few years ago, nibbling on elements of the culture, take it to the mainstream and throwing parties that most residents of the funk’s origins cannot afford. Whatever you may feel about the funk, it’s been around for decades and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. And as such, women like Renata Prado want to assure that the funkeiras (women funksters) have a voice all the while “balançando a bunda” to the funk!
“We are going to exploit short clothes and they will have to accept it”
By Nathalia Zaccaro
Renata Prado wants to unite women in the fight for respect for the female bodies in the bailes funk (funk dances)
By Nathalia Zaccaro
To be a funkeira is be audacious. The one that uttered this line is Renata Prado, producer of the São Paulo edition of the festa Batekoo (created in Salvador), a dancer and funkeira. Last year, she founded the Frente Nacional de Mulheres do Funk (National Front of women of the funk) and began to push the discussion about sexism within the funkeira masses. “We don’t want to supervise anything; the idea is to bring reflection. There’s no problem talking about sex in music, we like sex. But we have to think about how the woman is placed in the funks,” she explains.
The issue here is the respect for the body of the women at the dance. “The sensuality is part of the lifestyle of the funkeiras and we will, yes, exploit short clothes, rebolar (shake the hips) to the ground. Everyone likes to be glamourous. They will have to accept and respect,” she says. The proposal is to organize discussions, workshops and events to discuss sexism and female sexuality within this universe.
The space of the stage also needs to be occupied by women, not only dancing, but also singing. Renata cites the MCs Pocahontas, Sabrina, Drica and Carol as some of the names that make the dancefloor boil at the dance. “I also really like Tati Quebra Barraco. She pioneered. She was a woman saying that giving up the asshole is good. She ignored all the taboos that had been imposed on her and was successful. The funk is casual, has a looser style, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not politicized,” she explains.
“Many girls from the periphery may not use the term feminism, but when they impose themselves in little shorts in a society that kills women like ours, they are being feminists, they’re being daring,” she says. In the Batekoo, Renata promotes the esteem of women, especially black women. “It is a cultural movement of empowerment of youth and that is why it has such a great acceptance,” she explains.
The party, that was born in Salvador, Bahia, is already blowing up in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. “Everyone appreciates sexual freedom. The Batekoo was the place that most freed me sexually. It is a secure environment for me to dress and dancing as you wish,” she says.
A dancer since she was small, Renata shows through dance the cultural roots of funk. In one of the shows in which she participates, called Dos Tambores ao Tamborzão, she dates back to the time line of danças afro (African-oriented dances), going through ragga, dancehall, pagodão baiano (Bahian pagode) and, of course, funk.
“Just like the samba, which was a crime and today is (historic) patrimony, and the rap, that was persecuted and today is on television, the funk came from the periferia negra (black periphery) and was criticized, but now we are in all places and it is a reflection of the relationship between juventude negra e cultura (black youth and culture),” she says.
Source: Revista Trip