Note from BW of Brazil: It’s that time of year again! Every year for the past nine years, countless hundreds of successful black Brazilian women come together in the nation’s capital for the Festival Latinidades to discuss pertinent issues of black women as well as those that affect the Afro-Brazilian community as a whole. The event was created in 2008 and has since become the largest event for black women in Latin America. It’s always great to see so many black women of Brazil who do their thing 52 weeks of the year all together in one event. Needless to say, it’s very powerful and indeed empowering!
This year’s theme is something this blog has been covering increasingly as alternative forms of media and the numerous participants taking advantage of what they have to offer continues to grow. I speak here of the rising genre of what can be called ‘mídias negras’ or black medias. As Brazil’s mainstream media continues to show year in and year out that it has no interest in presenting black performers and black issues in any meaningful way that goes being centuries old stereotypes, Afro-Brazilian producers, directors, bloggers, vloggers (video bloggers) and others are taking things into their own hands and producing ground-breaking material that shines a spotlight on a community that Brazil continues to pretend doesn’t exist (1).
Women discuss the role of black media in 2016 edition of Festival Latinidades
By Yara Aquino
Black media was the subject of discussion on July 28th in the 2016 edition of Festival Latinidades. In the debate, journalists and researchers evaluated the role of black media as autonomous instruments of production and circulation of information and promotion of racial equality. Latinidades, which has become the largest black women’s festival in Latin America, runs through Sunday (31) in Brasília.
A PhD in history, journalist and author of the book Imprensa Negra no Brasil no Século 19 (Black Press in Brazil in the 19th century), Ana Flávia Magalhães, participated in the Nós por Nós: Mídias Negras em Ação (Us by Us: Black Media in Action) panel and said that the black press has a fundamental role to constructing the identity of that parcel of the population and promoting racial equality. “We must learn to think our historical trajectory also starts from liberty. And the black press is decisive for this,” she said.
Feminist and advertiser Larissa Santiago stressed the importance of narrative from the point of view of mulheres negras (black women) and called all to produce content for websites, blogs and personal pages for the construction of a wide media network. “Start producing content with the means and machinery that you have, create your story, your narrative, make new platforms, and we spread and register our memory and our history.”
The journalist and co-founder of the Comissão dos Jornalistas pela Igualdade Racial (Committee of Journalists for Racial Equality or Cojira) of Rio de Janeiro, Angélica Basthi, made an assessment of the teaching of journalism in Brazil, noting that the communication faculties continue without telling the history of the black press in Brazil. “The imprensa negra (black press) is still regarded as an action of second or third category. This is a problem that needs to be remedied,” she said. She added “As the media is dominated by whites, we need to think of strategies to be able to start to break this standard that plagues us so much.”
At the beginning of the discussions, advertiser Larissa Santiago paid tribute to the activist of the Movimento Negro former minister of Public Policies of Racial Equality Luiza Bairros, who died on the 12th of this month. Other participants of the festival also paid tribute to Luiza Bairros.
In the programming Festival Latinidades, debates, conferences, book releases, workshops, cinema, fairs and shows, and other activities have been planned. The complete schedule is available at site. Organized by the Instituto Afrolatinas , the event this year is in partnership of the United Nations (UN) in Brazil and sponsored by the government of the Federal District.
- For just a few examples of the exciting projects we’ve seen in recent years, take a look at the following articles:
In independent literary production black women find the opportunity to overcome invisibility
Meet Brazil’s black “It” girls of the blog-o-sphere: With growing followings, these ladies have become the ones to watch for women seeking fresh fashion ideas!
With no sponsors and far fewer followers than popular white women, black women YouTubers resist and gain space by force
Enegrecendo (blackening) YouTube: doing what TV has never done – Afro-Brazilians use the internet for a black representation that the media pretends doesn’t exist
Featuring profiles of different professionals, webseries ‘Empoderadas’ (empowered ones) seeks to empower black women and break from society’s stereotypes
With black representation lacking in Brazilian media, actors bring their perspective to You Tube
Raiz Forte (strong root) project launches website about black women and their experiences
Web series Palavra Negra (Black Word) exalts Afro-Brazilian poetry