Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so we’ve seen this type of thing before. The “accidental” lightening of the skin of certain entertainers has been going on for some time. A few years ago we saw the example of American pop/R&B superstar Beyoncé Knowles (Carter) appearing several shades lighter on in a L’Oreal ad and a few years in publicity shots and the actual cover for the CD entitled 4. In both instances it was quite striking the near ghostly appearance of the normally caramel skin colored superstar. We would later see what appeared to be the same thing when Elle magazine put actress Gabby Sibide on its cover back in September of 2010. As Sibide possesses a very dark skin tone, it would be impossible to lighten her skin to the degree of what was done with Beyoncé without making the cover appear to be some sort of caricature. But in both cases, it would appear mainstream American media has a problem accepting black/brown skin. What is the logic here? Beyoncé had already achieved superstar status by the time of skin lightening accusations and Sibide had already gained fame for her starring role in the 2009 film Precious. Obviously, success is not the issue here. Regardless of the success of persons of visible African ancestry, whiteness was and continues to be the standard for which beauty and humanity itself is to be judged. And if one is not white enough, well, now technology can help achieve this goal without entertainers of darker skin having to go the route of late icon Michael Jackson. So what does Brazil have to do with this?
Well, first of all, anyone who has studied Brazil historically and simply paid attention to the country’s media knows that there is an almost obsession with whiteness. Whether one judges from the invisibility of Afro-Brazilians in circles of power or the overwhelming whiteness of television, film and print media, Brazil’s nearly century and a half old goal of completely whitening the country doesn’t even try to be subtle. And this is the message that its media consistently promotes. Last week, we saw yet another example of this desired brancura (whiteness). The case that is today’s feature simply proves once again an argument that this blog has made from the beginning. Many argue that in Brazil pardos (browns or persons of mixed race) are not and should not be categorized as negros. The argument of BW of Brazil has been and remains to be, yes, pardos do have certain negligible advantages over darker-skinned pretos, in some cases fare worse than pretos and hold an advantage only as such that they represent a step in the process of whitening the country. (Social statistics measuring inequality consistently prove this).
After all, the 19th century goal was to get rid of pretos AND pardos and not simply to create a mixed race population. The singer Preta Gil featured in this article for example, is the daughter of the internationally known singer and former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, a black man and a white woman. Preta, whose name actually means black in Portuguese, has a very light brown skin color but for directors of a magazine of which she appeared on the cover recently, her skin was apparently not light enough. Now some might be tempted to argue that this whitening of Preta Gil was a mistake or just a horrible Photoshopping, but given the history and goal of whiteness I highly doubt it.
Magazine “whitens” the skin of singer/actress Preta Gil on its cover
Courtesy of Música para Música
Photoshop is really getting out of control. It leaves from being a lack of sense and sometimes even disrespectful how the tool has been used. Yesterday, Wednesday, September 10, the magazine ModaMoldes left the singer Preta Gil quite upset when she appeared on the cover of September issue completely modified, not even Preta’s skin color was the same.
Preta Gil appeared with her makeup retouched as well, without almost no line of expression, and beyond that, worst of all, completely pale! The singer, black, who takes much pride in her name Preta, means black, was virtually unrecognizable on the cover of ModaMoldes.
The singer didn’t accept this quietly and made sure to put the original photo next to the retouched photo to complain: “In a state of shock! It’s impossible for me not to be outraged, because I did these pictures for the cover of this magazine and it was published without my approval and or that of the photographer. Photoshop was done on their own account. Here is the result!”
Outraged, Preta went even further: “The original photo is beautiful, no major adjustments needed. What’s this? What a shame! The work of all professionals involved was compromised. Unfortunately this that’s on the cover of the magazine is not me!”
Source: Música para Música
Brazilians obsession with being white, is pure ignorance to the fact, of the period of time that we live in. In Brazil people of color are a higher percentage of the population you need to change the minds and attitudes not the color of your skin. For the record, Brazil is envied by the rest of the world for the of the countries diversity. Brazil is noted for having the most beautiful women on the planet, not because they are white; because they are Brazilian! Brazilians receive the greatest future shock outside the country of Brazil when you learn, that you are not white, not accepted as a white. But true humiliation comes when you realize you are among the few today that are trying to be white when you are not; and no one really cares.
I am an African American that finds the Afro-Brazilian culture and history very interesting, its should be shared with the world. Interpreted and communicated by diverse Brazilians. To me there is nothing more sadder than some of the Brazilian culture organizations in the United States consisting of the so called white Brazilians trying to communicate the Brazilian experience through their, (remember I am a white Brazilian) version of samba or capoeira; its just an act.