The racism of Simone Biles’s “Brazilian boyfriend” and the top-ranked black gymnast who wasn’t invited to join Brazil’s gymnastics team

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arthur nory simone biles1
American gymnast Simone Biles in a photo with Brazilian gymnast Arthur Nory Mariano

Note from BW of Brazil: You see, this is one of the reasons why African descendants around the world need to be able to communicate with each other beyond cultural and language differences. Earlier today we brought you a story concerning the Brazilian gymnast Arthur Nory Mariano. His name first appeared on this blog after a racist incident in May of 2015 in which he compared his black teammate to a trash bag. The article posted earlier today pondered why this guy made the Olympic team as a mediocre gymnast while his black teammate, Ângelo Assumpção, who has won numerous medals and had been named champion multiple times over the past six years, wasn’t on the team. The incident seems to be yet another example of how white-skinned privilege bestows advantages upon those who, often times, don’t even deserve them. 

One of the most talked about athletes at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has been the African-American gymnast Simone Biles, and for good reason. The young woman has racked up numerous medals in recent years (14) with 10 of those being gold. So one can understand how any and everyone would want to be associated with the young dynamo, even if just in a photo. Which is why were discussing this Mariano issue once again. 

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Biles’s tweet along with the photo embracing Mariano sent news outlets into a frenzy

Recently, Biles, probably in a friendly, joking manner, tweeted that Mariano is her “Brazilian boyfriend” in reference to a photo in which two appear together embraced. The tweet caused a fury of American and Brazilian news outlets to cover the message and discover/discuss the athlete to whom she made reference.  

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Taken from NBC’s Olympic website

One might look at the story and see it as just a frivolous story not even worth discussing. But the plot thickens once we remember Nory Mariano’s past racist comment and his black teammate not even being invited to participate in Brazil’s men’s gymnastics team. I didn’t analyze every single website reporting on the story about Biles’s tweet, but the ones that I did check, both Brazilian and American, conveniently omitted this little tidbit from Nory Mariano’s past. One might expect this on American sites as most probably don’t even know who he is. But Brazilian sites are probably well-aware of his racist joke as it was headline making news in the media last year. Before going further, let’s take a look at how one Brazilian website reported this “cute friendship” between Biles and Nory Mariano. 

Olympics: We’re loving this cute friendship pf gymnasts Simone Biles and Arthur Nory

Olympics: We’re loving this cute friendship of gymnasts Simone Biles and Arthur Nory

By Felipe Gomes

The international press is pointing to the gymnast Arthur Nory as the affair of Simone Biles, one of those responsible for winning the gold medal for the United States in artistic gymnastics at the Rio Olympics. The rumors started after Biles posted a picture with the athlete on Twitter and wrote “My Brazilian boyfriend” in the caption.

Well, if they are together or not, we don’t know, but what matters is that we are dying of cuteness because of the declarations of friendship between the two on social networks. In March, even before the Olympic Games begin, Nory posted on Snapchat a tribute to the anniversary of the American gymnast. “Parabéns, Simone rainha Biles” (Congratulations, Simone Queen Biles) he wrote.

To US Weekly (magazine), he denies having something with Simone. “We’re just friends. Whenever we saw each other ourselves in competition, we sent cell messages to each other,” he said.

One more reason for us to love and still follow the Olympics, right?

Brazilian site Terra’s headline: “Arthur Nory becomes ‘Brazilian boyfriend’ of Simone Biles”

Note from BW of Brazil: It’s actually understandable how the Brazilian media glossed over Mariano’s racist past; it’s the Brazilian MO: denying or down-playing racism. But fortunately, nowadays, because of blogs and independent media, more black voices are popping up to expose these little details that the mainstream tries to ignore or forget. Here’s how Hypeness exposed this little “oversight”. 

After episode of racism, athlete poses embracing black colleague

Courtesy of Hypeness

You wake up and find in your news feed, by chance, a picture of two embraced athletes in a super cute way. Wow, how they so loved, right? Que amoooor (such love)! ♥ Only that one of the athletes is black. The other athlete is white – and starred in a case of racism in social networks just a year ago.

Of course people can change a lot and we sincerely hope that the seleção brasileira gymnast Arthur Nory has evolved since the publication of a video full of racist comments on Snapchat. The original video is no more, but it was reproduced in a report from the O Globo newspaper.

During publication, Arthur and the athlete Fellipe Arakawa made prejudiced comments next to their colleague next on the, Ângelo Assumpção, who is black. “Your phone broke: the screen when it works is white…when it’s broken what color is it? (Laughs)…The supermarket bag is white…and of the trash? It’s black!” he comments in the video. At another point, athletes go to Ângelo’s room, where he had been upset with the attitude and called his companions of “fake”.

After the impact of the case Arthur Nory published a video on Instagram clarifying the case and gave interviews saying that it was a joke that had been misunderstood by the public. [Pause to breathe here: since when racism is a joke, people?]

Ângelo and Arthur were friends for years, but the episode shook the relationship between the two. Ângelo decided not to sue his colleague (for racism), but preferred to distance himself from the friendship. Later, the athlete said he had been prevented from speaking about the case by the Confederação Brasileira de Ginástica (Brazilian Gymnastics Federation or CBG).

Recently, Arthur Nory seems to have forgotten the case of racism and posed for pictures with the American gymnast Simone Biles during the Olympics. The image, released by some sites, didn’t pass by unnoticed on social networks. A Facebook user denounced the hypocrisy of the media with the case – the original report has been deleted. It was speculated that the two athletes are dating.

Note from BW of Brazil: And here’s how another a site made sure this little detail wasn’t forgotten…

Arthur Nory Mariano and two other teammates in a still from a video in which they apologized to their black teammate formaking a racist joke

A Brazilian racist and the new American sensation the Olympic gymnastics…

By Julia Noiz

The past of this young man condemns him and Simone Biles hardly knows that she’s being used as a souvenir for this young man who was one of those responsible for the elimination of the only black athlete of the seleção brasileira olímpica (Brazilian Olympic national team). Of course, after this episode Ângelo Assunção was not the same and wasn’t even on the team but the racists are thinking that everything was in past. Of course we haven’t forgotten and nor could we forget this fact because of what it all means for us here that, in a certain way, live out of orbit, because everything that happens to this band (of athletes) is suffocating and turning into jokes of bad taste. But the marks forever remain with their victims.

We don’t know if the press agents of the young athlete sensation are aware of the situation or if they were told that this guy’s a racist and can only be wanting to clean up his image using a preta (black girl) as a souvenir.

We also hope that this unfortunate episode doesn’t disturb the young woman’s performance because she is as much a reference for all black Brazilians regardless of being American.

Note from BW of Brazil: Well, to say the least, there are many angles to consider when dealing with this story. First, as mentioned previously, the fact that this Mariano made a racist joke about a teammate who has the same skin color as Simone Biles and is now being seen in photo with her doesn’t sit well with me at all. Another point is that, as written in a previous post, it seems that he only got a place on the Brazilian team based on his skin tone because his black teammate, Ângelo Assumpção, didn’t manage to get a sponsorship to continue his training. Now while this appears to be the reason that Assumpção wasn’t on the team, we still don’t know this for absolute fact. But if he wasn’t invited to join the team and it wasn’t due to a lack of sponsors, what is the reason he was left off of the team when his achievements are clearly more noteworthy than those of Mariano? 

My question would be, did anyone make Simone Biles aware of his racist joke? Does she know that Mariano had a black teammate who was clearly better than he but was left off of the team? If she were to learn of this controversy now, how would she feel about her “Brazilian boyfriend”? Too many questions and not enough answers for them but there does seem to be something at play here that we simply cannot rule out. As we’ve seen when certain men or women get certain jobs, certain men and women are chosen to host international events and certain women who sweep streets for a living manage to attract media attention, often times these people receive these advantages not because they are necessarily better, but simply because their skin is white(r). In Brazil, the privilege of white skin (even though this guy isn’t exactly white) (1) often guarantees that certain people will appear on TV, while it penalizes those who don’t have it. In this situation, it once again seems that a guy got an opportunity to shine (in an international event no less) because he happened to be much lighter-skinned than his better, but darker teammate (2). Of course we can’t prove this beyond a shadow of doubt, but given Brazil’s history, does it sound far-fetched? 

Considering Ms. Biles’s overwhelming success over the past few years, this little incident will not take away anything from her well-earned success. But perhaps if we continue on our paths of success and we know such things, maybe one day we, as a global people, will be in a position to do or say something in order that this doesn’t continue to happen. 

Source: Hypeness, Afro21, Domínio Pop


  1. As pointed out in a previous article, anyone looking at Nory Mariano would conclude from his appearance that he is of indigenous ancestry and not exactly white, at least by North American and European standards. But in Brazil, persons with light-skin and straight hair can “pass” as white. And even if he isn’t exactly white, by his referencing a joke in which he compared a white supermarket bag to a black trash bag, he is clearly attempting to partake in the privileges of whiteness.
  2. We must also wonder why he would pose with a black girl if he harbors thoughts comparing black people to garbage bags. Would this be his way of saying, “See? I’m not racist!” And if Assumpção didn’t make the team because he couldn’t get a sponsor after having already earned so many top rankings, what does this say about the idea that the US is more racist than Brazil, when Biles herself, one of the most successful gymnasts in history, is from the US?
About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. As an African American, I have grown to become a fan of Simone Biles. She is a positive for young black girls and younger BW. Two days ago, when I first saw the photo of Simone and Authur Mariano, I was happy for what appears a budding relationship. But after reading your article about Mariano’s racist comments to a former teammate/friend, I am now leery of this man. Seems like Mariano may by using Simone to: 1. Appear that he’s not racist. 2. Knowledge that posing and/or dating one of the top female gymnast in the world make him look good. 3. He is an opportunist. Too bad. I hope Simone wakes up and smells the coffee before he steps on her emotions, as he did with his former friend,Angelo Assuncao.

      • the article just fails to point out that mariano is obviously gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s pretty clear for brazilians that there’s no way he could ever really be any woman’s boyfriend). Also, his mixed race appearance is probably due to some japanese blood, and japanese people are notoriously racist in general.

      • I’d heard he was gay, but, as I didn’t take the “boyfriend” label seriously, I saw no point in discussing his sexuality. The point of the article is his positioning himself into taking advantage of Simone’s fame and her probably not being aware of his little joke…

      • anil/ the article just fails to point out that mariano is obviously gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s pretty clear for brazilians that there’s no way he could ever really be any woman’s boyfriend). Also, his mixed race appearance is probably due to some japanese blood, and japanese people are notoriously racist in general.

        ↑that’s racism against japanese.

    • Agreed.

      I’m also a Southern US.born and bred African American woman and like Carmen is beyond proud of Simone Biles accomplishments and just proud of all of the athletes of the African diaspora.

      What a let down..those cute pictures of Arthur embracing Simone are making me sick,possibily knowing that he’s a racist and using out there using her for his own fame profile. Hopefully, she will randomly look at various news stories about this guy or this blog to learn about the real Arthur.

      Far as Angelo? God bless him. Just imagine what he could have done with his talents during the Rio Olympics. That’s OK, for all we know Angelo’s letdown could a set up for something bigger and better than what Arthur has and more than we all could imagine.

      One thing I’ve learned about the Rio Olympics is no matter where the Black person was from,they were making tremendous marks in it. The United States, South Africa,Portugal, Colombia ,Canada or even Ukraine or Japan.. they really shined. The same with Brazil. Even though Neymar may struggle with his Afro Brazilian heritage,he was the man who helped Brazil win gold by kicking the winning field goal for his team and then there was Rafaela Silva winning in Taekwondo…the same very people who basically told them to go to h–l for being being Black.

      Let’s face it: the Olympics games would be nothing without Black faces being in it. Sure,People loved Michael Phelps but more people wante to see Usain Bolt and you could tell it by all of those selfies people wanted to take with him but let American media tell you, 2016 was about Michael.

      I hope that Angelo will become the Usain Bolt of Gymnastics. He deserve every piece of good in his life.

    • In south America (where í am from), most people (im not saying 100%), aren’t even interested about these useless racial disagreements…in the U.S.A. it has become such a thing…but honestly, in most countries of south America like Brazil, we call ourselves: white, black, indian…whatever. The worth of people is only because of their actions, or at least we see it that way… We are more worried about how we are gonna eat due the inflation and our undervalued currency, than who call us So í think you should start counting your blessings….Theres even a food chain restaurant, called “nigger beans” and no one makes a big deal. …im guessing that the heads of U.S.A. people would EXPLODE for something like that! lol. All im saying, is, slavery stopped years ago, as í applaude Simone, because she is GREAT!, i also think that Kanye West is a disrespectful man (indiferent of his race)……does that make me a bad person? …should now judge everything according to the color of people?.

      This is just a thought, from another reality, another side of the world, for you to consider… ;). Btw, im a mix of indian and decendant of black people (yes…”black”…the word is not evil…..”black”)

  2. Evidence that all Blacks in the diaspora need to know about the situation in Brazil. Struggles must not be isolated. The Civil Rights struggle in the US was and is an inspiration to many. So was the accession of Barack Obama to Presidency of the US to Blacks in Latin America. Letting Brazilian Blacks know that they are not alone is crucial.

    • While I DO agree that the CRM, MLK and Obama are inspirations to many, I have also concluded that all three were and are shams presented in front of the masses to deceive with no real purpose of leading to black empowerment and independence. I know these words may sounding shocking but when you do the research, look behind the scenes and analyze the results, these are the conclusions you will come to. I advise you to look behind the scenes at the string pullers to find the truth…

      • I have no problems understanding that the 1 percent runs America. But for the moment all Latin American Blacks are inspired by the developments in the US and we need to be happy about that. Black empowerment can only come through an attitudinal metamorphosis involving economic organisation and political power.

  3. It is true that Nory msde the racist video. But it is not true that Angelo is a top-ranked gymnastic. Nory has a stronger career than him. The fact that Angelo is not on the Olympics has nothing to do with racism.

    • Good evening!

      Please, if this is true, provide evidence to support your comment. From the information I gathered and also what was written in a previous piece, his achievements simply don’t match those of Ângelo Assunção. If you disagree, please provide sources.

      Also, the article says more than once that we cannot say his exclusion was absolutely due to racism, but can you prove that it wasn’t? A female weightlifter cited in the article mentioned how sponsors told her that “blacks don’t sell” as an explanation for why she didn’t receive any financial support.

      Brazil will ALWAYS prefer people who have lighter/whiter skin, there is no disputing this. As such, do you know for fact why Ângelo wasn’t on the team?

      The BBC article from May of 2015 mentioned that he still hadn’t managed to find financial sponsors still a year before the Olympics were to begin.

      We await your response.

      • You can compare their results looking their Wikipedia profiles. Nory made more achievements. Of course it doesn’t change what he made, but I disagree that Angelo is better. He is younger and has the potencial to become a top gymnastic, but he is not the greatest as some people are saying.
        I disagree that the Brazilian Gymnastic Federation would choose an athlete only because he is lighter. Brazil is desperate for medals because the Olympics are happening in Rio. They would not dispense Ângelo if they knew he could get a good result. They chose the athletes they think could be better. I am sure Brazil is racist, but they are not crazy to waste a chance to get a good result in front of the brazilian crowd. Nationalism matters, not only race.
        Look, I am not saying that Nory was right about what he did, but I think Ângelo is not at the Olympics for another reason.

      • If fact, I looked at the Wiki article of both. The writer of one of the articles posted these numbers. Let’s review:

        “Assumpção won a gold in the 2015 Artistic Gymnastics World Cup, a bronze in the International Junior Championships, was Brazilian champion in 2012, 2010 South American champion, 3-time South American champion for the Brazilian Olympic team and six-time Brazilian champion.”

        For Mariano I see two golds and a bronze. Where is Mariano’s better performance?

        Also, I cited a black weightlifter who said that sponsors told her that “blacks don’t sell”, so you CANNOT rule out racism when a year before the Olympics, Assumpção didn’t get sponsors.

        Again, I didn’t say it is most definitely racism but you CANNOT rule it out if you don’t have an explanation…

      • It does not take a brainer to conclude that he did not get sponsor just for the same reason, because he has a darker skin, think about what you said. Read the article one more time perhaps, you will get it.

  4. Racism/Anti-Blackness (RAB) is world wide. If you as a victim don’t understand Racism/Anti-Blackness (RAB) everything you do understand will only confuse you.

  5. Well!Welcome to Brazil!We do have a lot of good things but unfortunately as a country with a lot of black people we are extremelly racist even with black with black! Very well written article. Thanks for all the effort and good analyse!
    As a black woman in Brazil I stand up to clap to the golden person who wrote this piece of work. Thank you again!Energetic Hugs,

  6. In south America (where í am from), most people (im not saying 100%), aren’t even interested about these useless racial disagreements…in the U.S.A. it has become such a thing…but honestly, in most countries of south America like Brazil, we call ourselves: white, black, indian…whatever. The worth of people is only because of their actions, or at least we see it that way… We are more worried about how we are gonna eat due the inflation and our undervalued currency, than who call us So í think you should start counting your blessings….Theres even a food chain restaurant, called “nigger beans” and no one makes a big deal. …im guessing that the heads of U.S.A. people would EXPLODE for something like that! lol. All im saying, is, slavery stopped years ago, as í applaude Simone, because she is GREAT!, i also think that Kanye West is a disrespectful man ( i dont mind his race)……does that make me a bad person? …should now judge everything according to the color of people?. Or should í victimize me for being this or that color?…

    This is just a thought, from another reality, another side of the world, for you to consider… ;). Btw, im a mix of indian and a decendant of proud black people (yes…”black”…the word is not evil…..”black”).

  7. As a Black American man I sometimes question “love” or the choosing of white partners by any group of people that have been colonized.
    Research the “doll
    Test of 1940” or the Clarke doll
    Test. One can also research the doll test done on Asian and Latino children.

  8. Wow, a teenager jokes about a “boyfriend ” , when they are not together , and it gets sensationalized , because a black woman is perceived with a ” white man ” who is not white…

    Great to point out the racist incident , but, sensationalizing it based on a hug from Biles , and a joke from her, stinks

    Go after white racism , not phony straw man attacks on interracial relationships..

    • Hello again “In brazil”…

      I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt that there was some logic in your comment, after reading it again I now conclude that you missed the whole point. And as you missed the point, I won’t bother explaining it to you. One thing I will point out is that I have already pointed out the fact that he is not actually physically white, did you miss that point also?

      In terms of your view of “phony straw man attacks on interracial relationships.” Your view is very typical but your attempt at trying to discredit my views, like your previous comments, have no base. Simply because the vast majority of Brazilians have been indoctrinated for centuries to believe that “love has no color” which masks a real problem in which whiteness continues to reign supreme in the minds of the citizens, you have again missed the point.

      Now, since you see the questioning of widespread interracial relationships beyond the surface “love”, “choice” and “segregation”, tell me this: if you intend on fighting white supremacy, but every generation of black people mixes with whites until their family has a white or near white appearance and they money and education they earned passes back into white hands after 2-3 generations, how does that fight supremacy?

      I await an intelligent, well-thought response beyond the simplicity that you continuously post. If you come with the “love has no color” argument or the “leave them alone” I won’t bother responding as you will have proven my point.

    • Here we go with some black man defending interracial relationships because he is probably in one missing the whole point of the article.SMDH! Stockholm syndrome is alive and real.

  9. first, i never would say “love has no color” or “you cant be racist if you are in an interracial relationship”, i say many of your basic notions of white supremacy and the dynamic of interracial relations is flawed…seriously flawed…

    countries like brazil and the usa , will never be all brown , there is an error in your falacy right now…

    this notion lets say a white man marries a black woman, brings her into his family , and they covet her and she becomes white accepted , or her next generations become whiter so the money flows back into the white community is cartoonish at best…

    there is so much stigmatation and stereotyping on the people who think like you, about interracial relationships, you ought to be embarrassed…

    interracial relationships run the gamet…these fannonesque notions of how interratial relations are, passed down from really flawed black nationalist militant dogma (that was along with many great agendas) ,with the extreme black nationalists like the black panthers , stuck back then in flaunting maos red book , while 37 million starved to death at that time ,under maos rule practicing marxist beaurocratic farm policies , and more than 2 million killed in a marxist purge also under his gaze , and, these black militant extreme nationalist manifests were also stuck in psycho sexual bable , that any sane person can look back on and see how messed up that was . amazing people are going back and picking over the carcass and not really deferentiating between the things that worked and the trash…this anti interracial bs and killing culture like tap dancing and loius armstrong, were absolutly some of the serious bs coming out of that era..

    i would differ in your definition of white supremacy, by saying this, white people have been supporting and fighting against white racism since the early 1800’s in the usa…several hundred thousand northern solders died, fighting the condeferacy that had slavery as part of their manifesto, please spare me the “lincoln really didnt care about slavery”, the confederacy had it in their manifesto and many union solders went to horrible deaths with the idea they were fighting against slavery…they also had draft riots against black people so im not saying its blanket union white support to free slaves, but to not acknowledge white support for black people at every step , is naive , or willfull ignorance…every step of the civil rights movement had white people fighting also, and some died horrable deaths in the freedom rides..

    how one sided and naive to think all interracial relationships would end up in the future generations puting money back into the white community, in fact there is just as much a chance that an interracial union would benifit the black side of the family also and that interracial economic business alignments could be forged…

    that is the problem, this point of view you are attached to , with all its bs rationalisations, is wrapped up in serious flawed philosophys , flawed psycho analisys, by non psyciatrists when psycaiatry is not a hard science anyway, and is more related to “psych out” than any real reality…your notion of white supremacy is more based on like all white people are bad so anything related to black and white people together is rooted in white supremacy

    your attitudes are seriously missing the point that all the things you harp about interracial realationships, actualy play out in INTRA race relationships also, marrying up, marrying for higher social status..

    the notions of internal racism also doesnt play out in all black people, and id suggest a person who embarks on an interracial relationship has to be more self centered and have self esteem than not…interracial marrying for the wrong reasons will crumble faster than anything

    in short, back off leaning on interracial unions, its full of bs and no better than the kkk and race realists who have just as many stupid rationalisations as you do..

    your take on “cultural marxism” and this subject is ridiculous, political correctness and only looking at negatives in the history is more what this “cultural marxism” fall under..

    you write long comments and then complain about my responces, you never really address what i said , you just run a way, because its your blog, it doesnt go down in real life like that…unless you are chicken and will run away…

    i also address some of your commenters stupid statements, not just you, my comments are not all meant for you , there are some really naive commenters who dont live in brazil…sure ones from people from brazil also, but, more from people outside buying into the bs parts, like about passistas…i mean really sick

  10. Sports team selection in Brazil, is notoriously RACIST. It is why they dont win more on the international stage. They are intentionally suppressing their Black talent.

    Take the NBA for example:
    from the 70’s to today we had:
    Oscarc Robertson
    Dr. J
    Magic Johnson
    Michael Jordan
    Kobe Bryant
    Lebron James

    In Brazil – you had PELE. – where is the succession of unmixed BLACK football players ??? How could this be ?? it is statistically IMPOSSIBLE to not have produced more superstar BLACK players – (and yes I know that Neymar and Ronaldo have black fathers).

    The only conceivable answer is that in the youth levels and scouting levels, that explicit instructions are given to not promote real BLACK players…..the agenda is to sandbag them so that another Pele never happens again.

    This must have been a policy decision from the highest levels of Brazilian soceity and secuity apparatus: Never again will we allow a BLACK MAN to rise to be the symbol of the country.

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