by Luiz Paulo Lima
MTV Brasil was born in the 1990s as the third version of a channel aimed at young audiences to be launched in the world (first in the US and the second was MTV European). For those who read the book A Negação do Brasil (The Denial of Brazil) of filmmaker Joel Zito Araújo, you can imagine what it meant to the image and voice of Rita Monteiro, as the first black VJ in the history not only of the station but of broadcast television in the country.
We can reassess the impact of a black VJ, in the birth of this station recognized as being, besides the youngest, the first segmented television, the first transmitting its programming 24 hours a day, and in addition, the most admired TV station according to the newspaper Meio & Mensagem.
Rita Monteiro, from Rio de Janeiro, and a fanatic for the neighborhood of Madureira because of friends and communities, moved to São Paulo at a young age with this great dream which became a reality due to merit and quality. She was chosen among 2,000 candidates for the position and function of VJ at MTV Brasil, along with Astrid Fontenelle, Cuca Lazzarotto, Gastão Pereira, Maria Paula, Thunderbird and Zeca Camargo.
Besides talent, a lot of courage was demanded of this girl to defend this territory, incorporating in an “illustrious” agenda, unknowns, musicians and composers who saw in this girl with the dreadlocks, a wide smile and attitude, an opportunity also unique.
So it was with the band from the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio, Cidade Negra, Banda Obina Shock, exclusive interviews with Living Color, coverage of major international events such as the first “Rock in Rio” that enabled viewers unaccustomed to knowing the existence of an artistic and cultural black world of the highest quality.
Being the first is always difficult, regardless of a gender and race. This country called “Brasil” that insists through ignorance and interests on calling the concessionaires “Owners” of the television channel where they defend the vocation of this platform as a basic function to perform in entertainment, forget that the rules of this concession also require the incorporation of the role for education and culture.
The television plays a very important role in the lives of Brazilians. Maybe a unique case in the world, imagine someone running away from work or school to watch a soap opera, soccer, journal or other program of interest.
However this is not to diminish the importance of other beloved warriors Adriana Lessa, who hosted in 1993, and current VJ, Pathy DeJesus, but we need to recognize historical facts that fuels us daily to move on.
And now with the possibility of the station cycle ending with the announcement of the sale of the network that belongs to the Abril group, which has the rights to the MTV Brasil brand licensed until 2018, it’s a good time to make this public recognition. However, the beginning one already knows, but where we go time and history will no doubt tell. Congratulations Rita Monteiro, for your beautiful contribution!!