‘Soul of Brasil’: television series approaches transformations in the country from the perspective of black people



Note from BW of Brazil:It goes without saying that I’m very excited about this new project! We’ve seen over and over in Brazil’s media that the narrative is almost always told from the white perspective. Even when there have been attempts to present black representation, these productions are often, if not always directed by whites, full of stereotypes that don’t always present the full range of the Afro-Brazilian experience. Many of the productions, while presenting dynamic visuals are disasters when one considers the overall message it conveys about black Brazilians. Examples of this sort include TV series such as Subúrbia, Turma do Gueto, Sexo e as Negas and films such as Cidade de Deus. In my view and that of many others, a true depiction of black Brazilians with casts of Afro-Brazilian actors may not be possible until Afro-Brazilians are allowed to influence how they are portrayed in front of the camera by be allowed to take control behind the cameras. It’s not like the talent isn’t there as we’ve seen from the rise of what’s being called ‘Cinema Negro’ or Black Cinema.

The feature that we bring today is neither a short film, a TV series or a full length feature film but rather a TV series in an interview format that features prominent Afro-Brazilian voices of the state of Bahia. The goal of the series is to interpret Brazil from the perspective of those voices that are usually left out of the mainstream media: Afro-Brazilians. The series debuted in Bahia last week and as the first episode has already been uploaded onto YouTube, I look forward to the seeing more! For those who understand Portuguese, check out the first episode here

First episode of ‘Soul do Brasil’ featured interview with musician Lazzo Matumbi

Soul of Brasil: series approaches transformations in the country in the eyes of the black people

By Donminique Azevedo of Correio Nagô

Photo that integrates the opening of the series Soul of Brasil – Lázaro Roberto – Zumvi

With an argument and presentation by Elias Sampaio, the series Soul of Brasil will debuts today (05), on TVE Bahia, at 9.30 pm (local time), with a preview at IRDEB Theater, at 7:00 p.m.

The series shows the recent history and social transformations that occurred and continue to occur in Brazil, from the view of black people.


Soul do Brasil (Soul of Brazil), in its first season, will have 13 episodes – with a broadcast every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and a reprise on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. The main objective of the project is to amplify the voice of the black Brazilian people.

Elias Sampaio, in an interview with Correio Nagô, explains that one of the motivations for the development of the project was to build counter-narratives to the dominant discourse that places blacks as objects.


“In the mass media, for example, it is rare that blacks are treated even as consumers. In tele-dramaturgy, they almost always appear with stereotypes. Rare are the times that black people are presented being just ordinary people, developing their life like any other, there is always to be a reason for the presence of the black in the stories. One of the things that Soul wants to try to show is blacks by blacks. Them talking about themselves and about the things of the country, their community or anything else, but from their perspective in a dialogue with another someone just like him. Not only phenotypically, but living, coexisting and understanding their history, their codes, and especially their struggle. This I think is a little unprecedented here.”


The opening of the series features eight photographs by Lázaro Roberto, from Zumvi Fotográfico, an initiative with 24 years of existence, which brings together more than 30 thousand images related to the black communities of Bahia.

“We present 140 photographs. Of these, eight were selected with different approaches, from popular celebrations of the 90s and 2000s, of the mobilizations of November 20th, Dona Dalva do Samba de Roda, among others,” reveals Lázaro Roberto, who also has his work presented in the Consuelo Pondé Virtual Library . To follow Zumvi go here

Photo of Lázaro Roberto

Soul do Brasil in detail

In all episodes, an important personality for the construction of the history of the country will speak about himself/herself, his/her role in the processes of transformation and will seek to contextualize, from their place, the civilizational legacies of black people to Brazil.

The first four episodes of the series include the testimonies of singer and composer Lazzo Matumbi, founder and president of the bloco afro (Afro block) Ilê Aiyê, Vovô, the director of the Center for Popular and Identitarian Cultures, educator, actress, public manager and director of Ilê Aiyê Arany Santana and the president of the bloco afro Olodum, João Jorge. The production is by R5 Produtora, Magika Ateliê de Conteúdo and NESPP Consultoria.


Soul do Brasil has the support of TVE. The creation and design are on behalf of Elias Sampaio, Leonardo Rossi and Karla Karr and direction of Jonga Oliveira and Márcio Cavalcante. In its first phase, the series has institutional support from the Education and Culture Section of the Consulate General of the United States of America in Rio de Janeiro and the Government of the State of Bahia through the Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality – the Decade of the Afrodescendant, the Secretariat of Justice, Citizenship and Human Rights – the project Isso é Direitos Humanos (That’s Human Rights), and the Education Secretariat – Educar para Transformar (educate to transform) program.


Elias Sampaio says that the idea of the project is already old. “I’ve always been thinking about how to record the legacy of this entire people who have built this struggle in the last forty years and who can still speak personally about it. I was thinking of something like ‘a história falada do movimento negro’ (the story of the black movement)’ That was kind of dormant until, in 2015, myself and R5’s Leonardo Rossi decided that we would do something by joining his producer’s expertise, R5, and my experience in projects in the ethnic racial field. After a few meetings, Karla Karr, who has a lot of experience in this field, especially in the development of content, was incorporated into the project and from there we went to constructing the Soul do Brasil program that is going on the air,” he says.

Soul do Brasil, episode 1

As a strategy for action, Soul do Brasil will seek to communicate and disseminate in a playful, informative and reflective way the various “worlds” that are part of the black Brazilian universe, starting from the history and experience of the blocos afros of the state of Bahia, showing how these organizations aggregate the most diverse dimensions of art and culture, religion, communication, and creative economics.

SourceCorreio Nagô

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.