Note from BW of Brazil: Following up on a story presented here back in January, on April 23, the first “Black Women Tell Your Story Awards” took place in the capital city of Brasília. Like the announcement of policies to improve the image of black Brazilian women and the recent release of the magazine Black Women Making History, the objective of the award ceremony is to give much needed visibility and a positive representation of Afro-Brazilian women in a society where they are often made invisible except perhaps once a year during the Carnaval season where they are usually put on display due to their physical attributes or in other negative context (1). The award ceremony allows black women themselves to tell the collective and individual stories of black women in a program that is said to be only the first of an annual program. Read the full story below.
Brasília – The secretaries of Políticas para as Mulheres (Policies for Women or SPM) and the Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Seppir or Promotion of Racial Equality) handed out today on April 23, for the first time, the Prêmio Mulheres Negras Contam sua História (Black Women Tell Your Story Award). 14 women were awarded, five in the category of best essay and five compositions and four honorable mentions.
The award, said the Minister of Policies for Women, Eleonora Menicucci, “is a clear expression of a political ideological positioning of the SPM in fighting racism in all its forms.” According to Eleonora, the prize is a dream, an idea, an edict that is here to stay.
Luiza Bairros, of Seppir, highlighted the fact that the prize gives “more visibility” to the black woman in Brazilian society. According to the minister, the winning texts will help to think of the black experience in Brazil as something that constantly changes, because the way of being and of being black women in society has also been transformed.
Raquel Trindade de Souza (2), 77, author of the second best composition, wrote about her childhood in Recife, Pernambuco (northeastern Brazil) and her adolescence Rio de Janeiro. Thrilled, she said the award gives black women a chance to tell their story, which is part of the overall black movement. “As a black woman, as a plastic artist, as president of the Teatro Clássico Solano Trindade (Solano Trindade Classical Theatre), the importance of [the prize] is very big.”
Winner in the category of essays, with the theme of Domestic Work, Claudenir de Souza, of Campinas, São Paulo, dedicated her victory “to the 8 million domestics that exist in the country. There have been 468 years of domestic work in the country and 343 years were of slave labor. 48 years ago we worked in exchange for food and a few coins. Its been 77 years that we have been fighting to have the same rights as other workers,” said Claudenir.
The 1st Black Women Tell Your Story had 521 entries, 421 essays and 100 compositions. The 14 winning stories will be published in book form later this year.
Award ceremony will have future editions
The continuity of the event was announced by the Minister of Policies for Women during the award ceremony of the authors of the ten winning texts.
“This is the first in a series of edicts that we are launching because the racial approach pierces all actions of SPM.” The five best compositions were awarded R$5,000 (US$2,500) and the five selected essays were awarded with R$ 10,000 (US$5,000). Each category had two texts awarded in the honorable mention category.
“One doesn’t tell the story of Brazil without telling the story of the struggle of black women. And society that coexists with prejudice is not democratic because democratic societies live with diversity in all its dimensions,” affirmed Menicucci.
For Bairros, who shared the hosting of the event with Menicucci, the event “reinforces in me the resistance in speaking of black women as victims of the majority of the social disadvantages and as part of an oppressed sector of Brazilian society. The reading of texts helped, yes, to perceive them from a place of strength,” said Bairros.
Creuza Maria de Oliveira knows the meaning of Bairros’ words. Winner in the composition category with the text entitled “Minha luta é para ver tornar-se real o sonho do trabalho doméstico (My fight is to see the dream of domestic work become real),” she told her trajectory since her move from the interior of the state of Bahia to trying life in the capital city of Salvador, to the present day, culminating with the conquest of the PEC das Domésticas (Proposta de Emenda à Constituição or Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the Domestics) in the position of president of Fenatrad, the Federação Nacional de Trabalhadores Domésticos (National Federation of Domestic Workers) union.
Also winning in the category of composition, were: Marisol Adelaide Correa with “Do luto à luta: a história de três continentes marcados pelo racismo (From mourning to the struggle: the story of three continents marked by racism)”; Raquel Trindade de Souza, with “Minha infância (My childhood)”; Glória Maria Gomes Chagas Sebaje with “O bulling e a criança negra na escola pública, até quando (The bullying and black child in public school, how long)?”; Eliana Aparecida da Silva Pinto, with the text “O direito ao narcisismo (The right to narcissism)”.
In the essay category, the winners were: Claudenir de Souza, with “Trabalho doméstico (Domestic work)”; Claudia Marques de Oliveira with “O risco de ser mulher negra: entre a razão e a emoção (The risk of being black woman: between reason and emotion)”; Doris Regina Barros da Silva, with “Teias da memória e fios da história: laços e entrelaços (Web of memory and threads of history: ties and interlaces)”; Patrícia Lima Ferreira Santa Rosa, with “Universidade pública: sonho, direito ou pretensão (Public university: dream, right or pretension)?” and Tássia do Nascimento with “Vozes-mulheres (Voices-women)”.
Award – The Prêmio Mulheres Negras Contam sua História (Black Women Tell Your Story Award) has as an objective to encourage the inclusion of black women, by strengthening the reflection of inequalities experienced by black women in their daily lives, in the workplace, in family relationships, violence and overcoming racism.
The texts were sent by self-declared black women, telling stories of their individual and collective lives, which contributed to the construction of the country.
Award recognizes the history and life of Afro-Brazilian women in the construction of Brazil
Ministerial commitment – For the Minister of SPM, Eleonora Menicucci, the participation of black women is an act of citizenship that gives them the role of protagonists of their own history. She assesses the award as a tribute to female leadership to confront racism. “Our intention is to promote reflection on the daily lives of black women, racism and all forms of discrimination,” she said. The minister also spoke about the regulation of rights of domestic workers.
According to the minister, the initiative reaffirms the commitment to the fight for a democratic society that prioritizes sustainable human rights and diversity. “The award shows for Brazilian society we have tolerance below zero towards racism, prejudice, violence and discrimination,” she said.
1 – Marisol Adelaide Correa – “Do luto à luta: a história de três continentes marcados pelo racismo (From mourning to the struggle: the story of three continents marked by racism)”
2 – Raquel Trindade de Souza – “Minha Infância (My Childhood)”
3 – Glória Maria Gomes Chagas Sebaje – “O bulling e a criança negra na escola pública, até quando (The bullying and black child in public school, how long)?”
4 – Eliane Aparecida da Silva Painter – “O Direito Ao Narcisismo (The Right To Narcissism)”
5 – Creuza Maria de Oliveira – “Minha luta é para ver tornar-se real o sonho do trabalho doméstico (My fight is to see the dream of domestic work become real)”
1 – Valdenice José Raimundo – “Para Além das Expressões Perversas do Racismo: Uma História de Conquistas (Beyond the Perverse Expressions of Racism: A History of Achievements)”
2 – Leila Regina Lopes – “Dita – Identidade Quilombola (Dita – Quilombo Identity)”
1 – Claudenir De Souza – “Trabalho Doméstico (Domestic Work)”
2 – Claudia Marques de Oliveira – “O Risco de Ser Mulher Negra: Entre a Razão e a Emoção (The Risk of Being Black Women: Between Reason and Emotion)”
3 – Doris Regina Barros da Silva – “Teias da memória e fios da história: laços e entrelaços (Web of memory and threads of history: ties and interlaces)”
4 – Patrícia Lima Ferreira Santa Rosa – “Universidade Pública: Sonho, Direito ou Pretensão (Public University Dream, Right or Pretension)?”
5 – Tassia do Nascimento – “Vozes-Mulheres (Voices-Women)”
1 – Ângela Maria Benedita Bahia de Brito – “Negrangela: Exceção à Regra (Black Woman Ângela: Exception to the Rule)”
2 – Jurema Pinto Werneck – “Macacas de Auditório? Mulheres Negras, Racismo e Participação na Música Popular Brasileira (Auditorium monkeys? Black Women, Racism and Participation in Brazilian Popular Music)”.
1. See for example, see the following articles: “Devassa Beer ordered to change its racist ad depicting black women’s sexuality“, “Bombril campaign is suspended for racist content; ad caused outrage amongst black Brazilian women who repudiated the association of the scouring pad with black women’s hair”, or “Song about black women’s hair deemed racist; Sony Music ordered to pay $1.2 million (reais) in damages”
2. Raquel Trindade de Souza is the daughter of the legendary Afro-Brazilian poet, folklorist, painter and actor Solando Trindade.
“Black Women Tell Your Story” Award selects the best essays on the trajectory of Afro-Brazilian women
In what’s being called an “historic day”, new law that secures more workers’ rights for domestic workers starts today in Brazil
Public policies to combat racism and the negative image of black women will be launched by government in 2013
New magazine, Black Women Making History, continues to tell the story of black Brazilian women