In emotional post after the death of veteran actress Ruth de Souza, Taís Araújo honors other black Brazilian actresses
Araújo mentioned several black actresses in her post
By Marques Travae
Taís Araújo is arguably Brazil’s top black actress. The Rio native has been able to reach heights in her now 25-year career that was not possible for Afro-Brazilians in just the previous generation. And Taís knows this. With the recent passing of veteran actress Ruth de Souza, who was 98, Araújo honored Souza as well as other black Brazilian actresses who followed in her footsteps. When Souza began her legendary career, the most black people could do in Brazilian theaters was sweep the floors. Without Souza and later others, Araújo’s success would simply not be possible.
Via her Instagram profile, Taís wrote: “She came before all of us. She came before Chica Xavier, she came before Léa Garcia, before Zezé Motta. She came before, much before us. Always with a striking talent, a professionalism to stand out.”
“A charm and a respect for the profession, when that profession was not respected, when actresses were not respected or admired. She opened all the doors, she opened those doors wide,” she continued. Numerous Afro-Brazilian artists paid homage to de Souza at the 2013 Grande Prêmio do Cinema Brasileiro, Brazil’s movie award ceremony.
In Brazil, black actresses must struggle every day, often competing with each other, for the small space given to them by the mainstream media. Even with this narrow window of opportunity, a number of Afro-Brazilian actresses have been able to make a name for themselves in show business.
Araújo mentioned many of these actresses in her homage to Souza, writing: “Thank you, Dona Ruth, thank you for all the tenacity, all the commitment, all the talent, all the courage, all the humanity, all the perseverance. Thank you for your existence. I love you, we love you, we salute you, we celebrate you.”
Many of these women have been featured on this very blog. In her full message below, Taís mentions a long list of them.
“She came before all of us. She came before Chica Xavier, she came before Léa Garcia, before Zezé Motta. She came before, much before us. Always with a sweeping talent, professionalism to stand out, a charm and respect for the profession, when this profession was not respected when actresses were not respected or admired. She opened all the doors, she opened those doors and today Maria Ceiça, Zezé Barbosa, Isabel Filladis, Olivia Araujo, Nara Couto, Aline Dias, Elisa Lucinda, Grace Passô, Ana Carbatti, Camila Pitanga, Roberta Rodrigues, Cinta Rosa, Vaneza Oliveira Adriana Lessa, Dhu Moraes, Heslaine Vieira, Marine Priscilla, Jesus Pathy, Flavia Souza, Jessica Ellen, Luana Xavier, Protasio Cocoa, Sheron Menezzes, Indira Nascimento, Thalma de Freitas, Dani Ornelas, Jeniffer Dias, Tati Tiburcio, Erika Januza, Mariana Nunes, Sylvia Nazareth, Larissa Noel, Thainá Duarte, Marcela Gobati, Fernanda Jacob, Cris Vianna, Jorge Heloisa, Jeniffer Nascimento, Juliana Alves, Mariana Dandara, Lucy Ramos, Maria Gal, Lidi Lisboa, Larissa Luz, Kesia Estácio, Adriana Alves, Luana Xavier (and so many other sisters I haven’t mentioned) and I are here thanks to her and her legacy. Thank you, Dona Ruth, thank you for all the tenacity, all the commitment, all the talent, all the courage, all the humanity, all the perseverance. Thank you for your existence. And I take the liberty of thanking you and all the women in this country, even those who are unaware of your importance. I love you, we love you, we salute you, we celebrate you. We will continue your teachings and honor your legacy. Always.”