Her songs are pure provocation. In her shows, she drives the guys crazy and she knows it. An expert in sexually charged lyrics and moans, Tati Quebra-Barraco, born Tatiana dos Santos Lourenço, in the neighborhood of Cidade de Deus (City of God, yes, the same one from the international hit film of 2002 of the same name) in Rio de Janeiro in 1979, she’s a queen of the infamous bailes funk and funk carioca (funk dances and funk music of Rio de Janeiro) (1). Her career began in the late 90s although she really gained professional notoriety in the early years of the 21st century.
Tati Quebra-Barraco is the type of woman that speaks explicitly of sex with in a natural flow without shame or embarrassment. “I sing what people want to hear”, she once said. Her explicit lyrics would become so popular that she went from only getting airplay on local community-oreinted radio stations to the more popular, mainstream stations in Rio.
Tati sings the funk and lives the funk. “Everything that I sing in the songs that I do is reality of life. I only say what any woman often would like to say but doesn’t have the courage. They’re quiet, I put it out there,” the more direct and explicit the references to sex, the better, she says. Tati became a mother at age 13 and a grandmother at age 29. The “Quebra-Barraco” in her stage name loosely means “sexual acts generally practiced by women described as ‘periguetes’”, meaning something similar to the term “hoochie” (1). In her own words, the singer said that “quebrar barraco is fucking” and explained how she got her stage name: “I got this name because I went three months without dating. So the only way that I had for men to know of my needs was making this song”, referring to the term that would become part of her stage moniker.
Se eles quer que você mame, manda eles te chupar (If they want you to suck, tell them to suck), Canguro Perneta, de quatro, de lado, linguinha na bu…..(One-legged kangaroo (2), doggy style, from the side, tongue in pus…), Goza na boca, goza na cara, goza onde quiser (Cum in the mouth, cum on the face, cum where you wish), Bota na boca, bota na cara, bota onde quiser (Put it in my mouth, put it in my face, put it where you want to)
Some of her song titles alone leave little to the imagination. Songs such as “Orgia” (orgy), “Siririca” (female masturbation), or “69 Frango Assado”, “frango assado” meaning “roasted chicken” in reference to the position one finds a roasted chicken on a dinner table, while “69” means….well, if you don’t know, ask someone!
Never one to hold her tongue, Tati once spoke in reference to her lyrics that have been described as “pornographic” in an interview in the newspaper Jornal da Tardes: “I really speak, because for me, the man has to satisfy me, I like pleasure.” For researcher Adriana Carvalho Lopes, by changing the position of the woman (no pun intended) in heterosexual relations, Tati allows women to stop being merely sexual objects and becoming the subjects of sexual desire (3).
On her appearance, Tati once said, “After I got famous, I was besieged.” She didn’t consider herself pretty or sensual. “I’m neither more nor less than other women. I know I am a little fat. I’m even ugly, but now I’m in style” (in Portuguese, “Sou até feia, mas agora estou na moda”. “Sou Feia Mas Tô Na Moda” was also the title of one of Tati’s songs and became the title of a 2005 documentary about funk dances in Rio).
Perhaps it is that last statement that best explains the transformations Tati has made in the past several years. Earlier this month, Tati recovered from her 26th cosmetic surgery. Yes, 26thas in 2-6. According to Tati, “This is my 26th surgery and I don’t intend to stop here. I’ve already done my stomach, nose and reduced my breasts, which were always quite large. Except this time I wanted to give them a boost and had some silicone put in.” After her latest surgery in which she received 200 ml of silicone, Tati revealed that she was “feeling better, more gostosa” (hot, sexually attractive). “My face is a little puffy, but you noticed that my breasts are already new and improved”, she said to a friend. Tati said she planned to do a sensuous photo shoot as soon as she fully recovered from her latest procedure.
Tati is lacking only a few more surgeries to match the number of her age: 33. From Hospital São Luís, in São Paulo she said her intention was to have more surgical procedures after the silicone injections and still more liposuction. A short list of a few of her procedures include: breast reduction, silicone injections, rhinoplasty on her nose, plastic abdominal implants, and liposuction on her stomach, back, butt, arms and legs. 26 total procedures, averaging around 3 per year for the past 7-8 years. The funk rappper/singer once declared that she wasn’t adept to diet and exercise and preferred surgical interventions to achieve the look she desires.
“I don’t diet, neither go to the gym. When something is bad, I get surgery. I don’t eat salad. My thing is feijoada, mocotó…What I want is to eat, I don’t need to diet. I don’t live for my body, I live for my music. Besides, whoever eats doesn’t complain,” she laughs referring to two mainstay dishes in Brazilian cuisine. Feijoadais made with beans, beef and pork and served over rice while mocotó is made from cow’s feet, beans and vegetables.
Speaking of her career, the funkeira changed the management of her career and was preparing a new project, but also didn’t want to neglect her appearance. “I changed my office, I signed the contract with (Diogo) Max (her producer) to re-position my image and do a nice job with a new style, but also I cannot neglect my appearance, right?”
After her latest procedures, the rapper/singer posted various photos of herself online in recuperation at the hospital. A recent news report compared the rap singer’s apparent addiction to cosmetic surgeries to several other news makers famous for their penchant for going under the knife, including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. And Tati is clearly not the only Brazilian who likes going under the knife. Brazil is consistently in the top two or three countries in world for most cosmetic procedures. In closing this piece, it seems sad to see when people go to such drastic measures to reach a certain physical aesthetic and still worse because it seems they will never reach this apparent unattainable goal. The results often times border on the ridiculous (see the piece on dancer Gracyanne Barbosa for example). In the end, one can only hope that Tatiana dos Santos Lourenço aka Tati Quebra Barraco attains happiness, because this also seems to have alluded her for quite awhile.
1. For more on “funk” music, “funk dances” and “periguetes” see the article “After much promise and hype of 90% black cast, Subúrbia TV series descends into familiar clichés and stereotypes about black Brazilians”.
2. Canguro Perneta or one-legged kangaroo refers to a sexual position that is often simulated by funk artists in videos and concerts in which the female stands on one leg with the other positioned at a 90 degree angle in the air or supported on something.
3. Lopes, Adriana Carvalho. Do estigma à conquista da auto-estima: a construção da identidade negra na performance do funk carioca. Florianópolis, 2008.