Singer Anitta is accused of Cultural Appropriation | Black Brazil
Note from BW of Brazil: Well, let me just quote what someone recently wrote in criticism of singer Anitta’s latest music video…She’ll never learn! The funny thing here is that I don’t even cover Anitta that much on this blog. Her name has popped up on a number of posts that deal with other artists and music but when she IS the topic of the post it’s usually for something she would probably rather forget. For those who don’t remember, she’s been called out twice for what people see as “cultural appropriation” (see here and here), critics then called her out on her silence on the murder of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco that shocked the world last year. Then there was the discussion on how Anitta’s appearance has given her more acceptability in the mainstream singing a style of music that has been heavily criticized.
In reality, once again, it is Anitta’s appearance, as well as her behavior that is at the center of this latest controversy. As detailed in a previous article, Anitta has walked a tightrope on the issue of her racial identity, coming across as if she wears blackness as a sort of costume that she can put on and take off whenever she pleases, a practice critics have labeled as “afro-conveniência”, meaning one is “conveniently black” or black only when it is convenient.
After reading some of the comments on this topic, I decided it’s not even necessary for an extended breakdown here because Brazilians themselves are taking Anitta to the cleaners on this! Some of the comments were simply hilarious! Don’t believe me? I included a sample of some of them at the end of this article. Check ’em out. And as for Anitta…Girlfriend, folks are already up on your chameleon-like tendencies. You may wanna decide on how you’re gonna market yourself, be it one side or the other. If you keep playin’ this game, your days in the spotlight may be numbered!
With release of new video “Muito Calor”, singer Anitta is accused of cultural appropriation and being “conveniently black”
With information courtesy of Varela Notícias, Vix and Extra
After releasing a teaser of her new video, “Muito Calor”, in which she appears with her very curly hair in a Brazilian favela, singer Anitta was accused of cultural appropriation and decided to address her critics.
When criticized by netizens, who accused her of trying to “se passar por negra” (pass for black) in the clip, the artist published a text in response and showed old photos of herself as a child that prove that her original hair is not straight as it seems to be nowadays, but in reality, rather curly.
Anitta and Puerto Rican reggaeton/trap singer Ozuna recorded the music video “Muito Calor” and to publicize the work, the singer published an excerpt from the filming on her Instagram and the images generated a great controversy in the social networks of the artist.
The clip was recorded on the roof of a community in Rio de Janeiro and during filming the singer wore a curly wig. This is not the first time Anitta has recorded in a favela, but the fact that the singer appeared on the rooftop with curly hair caused some netizens to accuse the singer of cultural appropriation. In other sections of the clip, without the artist’s presence, streets and aerial images of the favela are also shown.
Cultural appropriation is about the adoption of some specific elements of a culture stigmatized by another that does not suffer the same types of discrimination. In this case, people accused Anitta of appropriating characteristics of black women, who represent the majority living in Brazilian communities (favelas), such as cabelo cacheado (curly hair). Similarities with earlier work by the funkeira (funk singer), such as “Vai malandra” and “Onda diferente”, which also generated accusations of cultural appropriation, were pointed out in the comments.
Anitta’s natural hair
In response to the criticism, the singer published a commentary explaining that in her childhood, her hair was even curlier than it appears in the video and that the use of chemicals in adolescence ended up modifying the structure of her tresses.
The singer then decided to show fans what her natural hair is like. She used Instagram’s Stories to post three images of when she was younger and her hair much curlier.
Once again accused of cultural appropriation in new video, Anitta says: ‘You all are never satisfied’
According to internet users, the carioca (Rio native) se transforma em negra (transforms herself into a black woman) to record clips, and abuses cabelo crespo e da pele bronzeada (kinky/curly hair and tanned skin). However, outside productions, she doesn’t exalt black culture or life in the favelas.
Upon the release of the sneak preview of the video and later its full release, critics of the artists began to immediately express their dismay with what many saw as a standard practice for the singer.
A few of the comments went like this:
“Why does every clip with Anitta have to be in the favela? Is it just this view that the gringos have of Brazil?” asked one ‘net surfer, while another made irony of the situation: “Legitimate black woman, Wakanda is having a party.”
“It’s just like the other video she made,” wrote one Instagram user. Another compared her to the singer Halsey, also criticized for appropriation: “Halsey, friend, run so that we can have a visit.”
In the face of the attacks, Anitta made a long outburst on the same publication:
“My god! What madness! 1 – “Onda diferente” is a hit. The clip was shot in Los Angeles. Sung in Portuguese. It features a Brazilian and a very important gringo. They are starting to listen outside Brazil even though it’s in Portuguese. 2 – The only video of MINE recorded in a favela is called “Vai Malandra”. The others are clips where I was INVITED as a guest, just like this one. 3 – The clip shows several points of Rio de Janeiro that the director liked. Among them: the stairs in Lapa, Sugar Loaf, Christ (the Redeemer), beaches and etc… 4 – When I was a kid, my hair was curlier than in this of the video. I used products in my teens and it changed forever. 5 – You all are never satisfied”
Comments taken from Twitter
- Anitta in Brazil looking like a black woman and “one of the people” in her thousandth video in the favela/Anitta outside of Brazil, showing herself as a white woman with European features. Conveniently black is what this is called!
- This Anitta don’t understand nothing. Sometimes whatever intelligence she has, she’s inconsistent. A gringo can know Brazilian music, sung by her, without her needing to “wear” the same stereotype of the favela everytime.
- If she’s not black, don’t be one when it suits you.
- It’s crazy that Anitta never NEVER said that she’s black
- I don’t know who’s blacker, Anitta or Halsey
- But she’s from the favela and is parda (mixed/brown) (not black and MUCH less white)
- Anitta is black again, how beautiful!!!
- Today I saw Anitta’s video. Dude, she doesn’t get tired of passing for black, does she?
- Anitta entrepreneur = straight hair, Anitta in the videos = people, look how black I am
- Anitta once again playing black only because she’s recording in the favela. I give up.
- People, the black Anita in the new video – She still hasn’t learned
- How is that Anitta turns black when she needs to earn money
- Black Anitta attacks again in a new video
- Anitta is irritated because of not being chosen for the role of Ariel (Little Mermaid) and says “wow, but I’m black too.”Anitta’s makeup secret = sometimes she’s black and sometimes she looks like a gringa, people, it depends on the video
- I’m disgusted by Anitta trying to appropriate black culture
- I’m tired of seeing Anitta looking black in the videos and in the events all white
- Dude, Anitta really wants to be black, huh?
- And once again Anitta wears a black woman “costume”, right. From the men, and the photos that I saw, now she’s pretty black.
- On the real, I don’t know how you all exalt Anitta, she’s only black when it’s convenient.
- Look at Anitta dressing up as a black woman for another video and everybody’s pretending that this is good.
- Brother, the issue is problematic when it starts with “Anitta: false black woman”.
- Like, look, SO MANY THINGS TO SPEAK OF HER and they’ll soon ask this (being that she is whitened for real)
- And once again, Anitta goes to the favela “becomes black” and gets half naked
- Incredible how Anitta turns black when it’s convenient. She turns LGBT when it’s convenient. She turns feminist when it’s convenient. Etc.
- But she stays quiet politically! She only gets with Bolsonaro supporter men. And only acts on her own causes.
- It’s Muito calor and black when it’s convenient hahaha. And that each disagrees there in her house.
- Anitta doesn’t get tired of looking like a black woman from the periphery, huh?
- It’s magic. Anitta goes up from the asphalt to the favela, becomes black, goes back down to the asphalt whitening more than Michael Jackson
- She went to the favela, turned black and got almost naked depreciating the black race. She goes to international TV turns white and well-behaved
- It’s not cultural appropriation. It’s conveniently black. She only uses the black/favela dweller image when it’s to make profits from the hyper-sexualization in a video.
- Now, when she’s Anitta entrepreneur, she wears straight hair and much lighter skin. It’s very clear where she puts the place of the black woman.
- Really because the false militant Anitta has for years, using gays, using the favela to record videos, uses appropriation of black culture, married to a Bolsonaro supporter declared and was humiliated by him for months until separating (from him)
- Now all that’s missing is this, where is Anitta black? (laughs)
- Anitta has a series of clones: the black Anita who comes out of captivity when she wants to make music for Brazil and the favela. The Latina Anitta when she has to sing Spanish to the hermanos and the white Anitta descendant of Latinos when she wants to go to the USA.
- Look, Anitta’s back to being black in Muito Calor
- Selling the stereotype of the black woman, favela dweller, kinky/curly haired woman is essential. $$$$$$$$