The color of love – While there are many single women, in Brazil, why are most single women black?

Actresses from the play 'Engravidei, Pari Cavalos e Aprendi a Voar sem Asas'
Actresses from the play ‘Engravidei, Pari Cavalos e Aprendi a Voar sem Asas’

 Note from BW of Brazil: Brazil is a country that is known globally for having some of the world’s most beautiful women. This site is not a place for internet dating, but the various social network pages of the site consistently receives messages from men from all over the world saying they “love Brazilian women”, that their goal is to marry a Brazilian woman, or asking how they can meet a Brazilian woman. And to be sure, Brazilian women come in all skin tones, shapes and sizes with various hair textures and eye colors. The image that comes to mind when a man outside of Brazil thinks of a Brazilian woman seems to be borderline perfection, but what is it that a man, particularly a Brazilian man seeks when he decides to settle down with a brasileira? Well, according to statistics, the woman that least manages to make it to the alter is the black woman. In past articles, BW of Brazil has approached the issue of the difficulty of black women entering and maintaining long-time relationships and even delved into the topic of interracial relationships. Well, as we already knew, this blog is not the only place where the state of the black woman in life and relationships is being discussed. The issue is also being approached in books and even onstage. 

The color of love

Affective everyday black woman: from the comprehension of loneliness to empowerment

By Maitê Freitas | PHOTOS Sangoma


Every now and then they say that “there are a lot of single woman.” What is not said is that most single women in Brazil are black. According to the 2010 Census, 52.89% of black women are unmarried, compared to 24.88% married black women and 2.60% divorcees. The numbers are scary, but living this statistic everyday and knowing that this is a historical legacy is much worse.

"Virou Regra?" (It Became the Rule?) (2010/Scortecci) by Claudete Alves
“Virou Regra?” (Did It Become the Rule?) (2010/Scortecci) by Claudete Alves

Author of the book Virou Regra? (Did It Become the Rule?) (2010/Scortecci), researcher, former councilor and chairman of SEDIN – Sindicato de Educação Infantil (Association of Childhood Education), Claudette Alves, explains: “The black woman faces loneliness independent of social stratum. This is not an exception, it is the rule, a historical symptom that indicates a real behavior, black women (in their majority) do not have the experience of love.”

'Mulher Negra - Afetividade e Solidão' (Black Women - Affectivity and Loneliness) by Ana Claudia Lemos Pacheco
‘Mulher Negra – Afetividade e Solidão’ (Black Women – Affectivity and Loneliness) by Ana Claudia Lemos Pacheco

In the same vein, the researcher Ana Claudia Lemos Pacheco, author of the recently released Mulher Negra: Afetividade e Solidão (Black Women: Affectivity and Loneliness) (2013/EDUFBA), reiterates: “Loneliness has its origin in the family structure, what do single black women have in common? Social origins and family. They are born and grow up with racism and sexism as crossed systems of oppression. Many have never experienced a fixed, lasting and healthy relationship. The black woman, besides being alone is the greatest victim of domestic violence.”

'Sangoma' - Cia Capulana of Arte Negra
‘Sangoma’ – Cia Capulana of Arte Negra

In line with this debate, two black collectives of São Paulo theater, Cia Capulana of Arte Negra and Os Crespos, mounted the plays “Sangoma” and “Engravidei, Pari Cavalos e Aprendi a Voar Sem Asas”, respectively. For actor Sidney Santiago (Os Crespos), dealing with the subject on stage makes of “theater a space for meeting, debate and healing. Art has its duty of the present to insert thematic faces to our black sociability and think that our emotional health is as important as all the other insertions.”

Scene from 'Engravidei, Pari Cavalos e Aprendi a Voar Sem Asas'
Scene from ‘Engravidei, Pari Cavalos e Aprendi a Voar Sem Asas’

The dramaturgy written by the researcher Cidinha Silva have in common the use of real stories and the experience of the actresses, that on in the pieces give voice to lonely black women. “Sangoma e Pari Cavalos have in common abandonment and loneliness through which black women go through and the search for love as a way of healing, especially in healing themselves as they learn to love themselves more,” explains Cidinha.

The texts, made ​​from the personal stories of actresses, struck a nerve with the public. “Many men are bothered by the spectacle, others recognize the story of their mothers, grandmothers…I can’t not talk about our experiences. Loneliness, silence, the difficulty of recognizing when love comes, as the the experience of love and liking ourselves was already taken from us,” says the actress and dancer Débora Marçal (Cia Capulanas).

Civil state of black women in Brazil Source: 2010 IBGE Census 52.89% unmarried, 24.88% married, 8% windowed, 2.60% divorced
Civil state of black women in Brazil
Source: 2010 IBGE Census
52.89% unmarried, 24.88% married, 8% windowed, 2.60% divorced

The dream of prince charming, a wedding veil and wreath instilled in the female unconscious over the centuries, is not part of the reality of the black woman, educator and actress Adriana Paixão (Cia Capulanas) explains: “We follow post models, most black women don’t experience and have never experienced this Western model of relationship. Discussing other freedoms, other themes, we don’t even look at the black woman.”

According to actress Flavia Rosa (Cia Capulanas), “racism affects all fields, often times the first reference of love comes with racism, inside the home in relation to the mother, with the father (when he’s present) and siblings. From the moment that this contempt is naturalized, the other segments and spaces of relationship also naturalize this oversight. You don’t know what it is to be treated well, this extends to affective and institutional relations.”

The groups, which had as its starting point and inspiration for research an article by American activist and feminist bell hooks (her name is spelled in lowercase), whose article Living to Love (Vivendo de Amor in Portuguese) puts her finger on the wound and leads the audience to reflect on the affective role and construction of identity of black women. According to the playwright, “self-esteem today is the old self esteem of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Facing everyday racism that affects black women and their families, for which they are responsible, stealing the time and space to care for themselves, weakening love itself.”

Lucélia Sérigio, actress and director of the show “Pari Cavalos…”, believes that loneliness affects not only poor black women, but it is a constant among women whose intellectual and cultural formation is above average. In addition, we have many sexual stereotypes, we have that need to be strong and not succumb and this is also a problem in love. We are not the ideal of beauty, we are not in good jobs to help the partner grow, we are too hard, or less educated, among many other things. We’re not even in the novelas (soap operas)! A pretty black woman is seen as an exception to most Brazilians, educated and intelligent, mother of a family and companion, so…Damos barraco (let’s live together), we are gostosa (sexually ‘hot’) and cook well, that’s what we’re good for. Our struggle is to conquest otherness, dignity and integrity. This is only possible through love. It starts with our choices and our limits, but undergoes a collective consciousness of whites, blacks, yellows, blues, reds, everyone. That’s what we want in talking about our feelings and dislikes.”

Bringing up questions, criticisms and reflections on the affectivity of black women, Cia Capulanas addressed the theme by evaluating the history of health and diseases affecting the afrodescendente women (woman of African descent). “Within this historical construction, we have no right to be fragile. Even being the base of the pyramid, black woman take care of everything. We live the archetypal of the warrior, of the strong woman, because of this we implode and calluses, tumors and fibroids are born. We are this big tit that breast feeds everyone and everything, but who cares about us? This doesn’t mean that we want a relationship of submission, what we want is a relationship of exchange. If no one looks at us, let’s look at ourselves. We are always with the next person, looking for the next person, at what time do we look at ourselves?” adds the actress, poet and art educator Priscilla Preta (Cia Capulanas).

“Our affection is being buried every day because of the daily aggressions. We always need to clench our fists, swallow the tears, dry the tears and silence (them), we always come out losing this barbarism of mathematics. We are framed in clippings that speak of our physical attributes, our temperature, our musicianship, i.e. always being the object of the other,” reiterates actor Sidney Santiago.

When love becomes a political act

For some, talk about love has becomes mushy; for others, thinking and talking about affection and experience of love within the afro-feminine segment gains a “spiteful” and victimized connotation. However, there have been years of silence, submission and misunderstanding of the relationship. “The more we break the silence, the more we will empower ourselves and change what is historically set,” says Flavia Rosa.

To the measure that this woman empowers herself and finds stories equal to hers, loneliness loses the connotation of pain and becomes synonymous with freedom, or, in the case of theater pieces a political and curative act. “The body reframes this process with self-esteem. The embodiment may be revised and bring a reconstruction of self-image. There are women who have something in common, but they are not all the same,” says Ana Claudia Lemos Pacheco. “The escape is an empowerment of black women, we remember that it’s us who educate these men and that some stereotypes need to stop being reaffirmed by us, black women. It’s our truth, when the black woman speaks, it bothers (people) and generates non-conformity” reiterates Claudete Alves.

What these two groups debate goes beyond the sexual and erotic dimension of the stereotype of the afrodescendente woman. “We’re not talking about sex, but emotional health. A healthy family and balanced people is the least we can wish for in our society. One of the characters in the shows says ‘just imagine what an empowered woman can do when she decides to react against all oppression.’ Love is political, our choices too. The important thing is to learn to look beyond this distorted mirror that separates us from ourselves. We don’t talk about forcing ourselves to relate only among black men, we’re talking about why black women feel they are not loved and many of them have no companions, besides their children. Citing bell hooks, ‘our healing is in the act and art of loving’,” says Lucélia Sérgio.

With no prediction of the new season, the groups continue with research and fostering debate with the public. Os Crespos are preparing a show about homosexual relations among black men in the project “Cartas à Madame Satã” (Letters to Madame Satã), and Cia Capulanas are preparing for the release and screening of the documentary Sangoma, which deals with research on the health and identity of black women in Brazil.

Breaking the silence

In addition to the shows, other articles address the affectivity of black women:

– A documentary about the research process of the show Sangoma, of Cia Capulanas. In addition to excerpts from the piece, the documentary includes interviews and statistics on the health status of black women in Brazil. To purchase write to:

– Released by EDUFBA late last year, the book is a result of the doctoral research of author Ana Claudia Lemos Pacheco (UNICAMP), and addresses the affective state of black women in Bahia, their stories and affective-sexual trajectories.

– The actress and poet Priscila Black presents erotic poetry in A Calimba e a Flauta, a book done in partnership with the poet Allan da Rosa. The book comes with an audio CD of poetry and musical arrangements. To purchase write to:

– A collection of poetry and prose edited by Collective Mjiba (São Paulo) and organized by journalist Elizandra Sousa. Distribution and sale:

– The book Virou Regra, made ​​from the master’s thesis of the researcher Claudette Alves, addresses the affectivity of black women in the city of São Paulo. Controversial, the author makes a reflection on the loneliness of black women to the disregard of the black man not having relationships with them.

Source: Raça Brasil

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


  1. Having straight hair & light skinned ain’t enough to carry votes when there are enough men to pull the handle. This is a program of genocide by slow attrition in Black Brazil. I bet the murder rate by police is 20Xs that of white Brazilian men?

    • Black people love to throw around the word genocide. There is no official agenda being carried out by the Brazil Government or Elites. There is a problem with crushing poverty of which criminality goes out of, along with other social problems such as low rates of marriage/family formations.

      Now the Elites do support keeping dark skin people poor to mostly keep them out of the board room, their children’s classes and social networks. This has the knock-on effect of the social problems I just mentioned.

      Black Brazilian women need to be careful what they wish for with empowerment, it hasn’t done Black women in America any favors.

      I was recently in a social environment with a room full of attractive Black women. It is an annual celebration given by a group of behind the scenes Hollywood types who donate their time to feed homeless people on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

      I was reminded how attractive and feminine can be, but this has much to do with their social status as college educated, as the majority of them were. Even Jill Scott showed up, though I didn’t recognize at first.

      Anyway the majority of these women were single and unmarried. Only a handful had boyfriends and none where engaged.

      Black woman empowerment has these women looking down the nose at Black men who earn less money or lack the education they do. While they search for the Black version of Mr Big from Sex In the City, they risk becoming spinsters and crazy cat ladies.

      A good chunk of these women are over 35… The youngest was 29 and a few were around 34 years old.

      Now is this a problem created by Black men? No but Black men are getting the blame for being unavailable to these women, when the statistics prove that the actual ratio of educated Black men to educated Black women is about 1:1.

      That my friends is a disconnect… As I said several times here, the constant complaining by this blog about the struggles of Black women to find love is easily found in Black enclaves around the United States.

      Maybe BWB should consider starting a dating site….

      • @Anthony Thomas:

        “Black people love to throw around the word genocide. There is no official agenda being carried out by the Brazil Government or Elites.”

        Now, whether you choose to believe this or not, this is actually not true.

        1) There is the “National Security Study Memorandum 200” that calls for population control of several key countries (none in Europe), of which Brazil is one of them. This report advocates the promotion of education and contraception and other population control measures, stating for instance that “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion”.

        This is key as abortion continues to be a topic of debate in Brazil today. Still illegal, but there is a growing push to legalize it.

        2) In the early 90s in Brazil, there were numerous black women’s organizations denouncing the silent widespread sterilization of black women. Similar denouncements are being in Kenya right now…

        3) Brazil has promoted intermixture as a means of erasing or diminishing the black population since the late 19th century. It was explicitly stated and even Theodore Roosevelt acknowledged the genius of the plan…

        4) There is also the 1989 document “Estrutura para o poder nacional para o ano 2001 – 1990/2000, a década vital para um Brasil moderno e democratic” developed by a right wing think tank that specifically speaks of “neutralizing” and “destroying” people who are deemed criminals. In Brazil, the association with criminality is a direct reference to the black and poor.

        You can choose to not believe if you like, but these are the facts…

  2. These words are so identifiable and applicable to black women in America as well. It’s so unnatural for a woman to be faced with this much rejection, racism, sexism, hatred, colorism and loneliness everyday of her life…and yet be expected to be soft and pleasant. Will there ever come a day where Black women all around the world will not have to suffer so much?

  3. @BWofBrazil

    Where did I deny there isn’t a global agenda to eliminate the downtrodden and poor?

    I am more than familiar with Whites screaming of overpopulation (of dark people) for over 100 years.

    I have never denied this, stop pretending I do.

    Since people of color make up the majority of the poor, they are targeted. If you aren’t poor these same elites are happy to take the money you make to purchase the homes they build, the cars you drive, the smartphone you talk on, the food you eat, the furniture you sit on, the the majority of appliances you own, the school you attend, keeps the lights on, make sure the toilet flushes and the trash is picked up.

    In other words besides African, Black people aren’t in control of SH*T and don’t know how to force elites to bend to their will. They don’t vote, they complain the system doesn’t work for them, but yet they are fearful of backlash if the word revolution is mentioned.

    What you asking for is social change, the change that will undo the social conditioning.

    Do you have any idea how long that takes? Do you understand that requires solidarity that is currently MIA among the Black populations around the world?

    So the constant harping does nothing and I do mean NOTHING. Getting a few people to recognize their “Blackness” doesn’t mean much. That MIGHT mean one more family formation, possibly.

    Once more time – Blacks have to OWN the same stuff that Whites own. You have to run cities, run governments, build cars, build homes, build computers, put in power stations, supply food, educating societies children, etc.

    At every level there needs to be a Black person in command or in-control. –

    Buck Minster Fuller is often quoted saying that if you want to take over something, make the alternative better than the status quo.

    If Blacks dominate media, then OWN THE MEDIA…. If Blacks dominate sports THEN OWN THE SPORTS we dominate from top to bottom.

    Then make it better than the White man has made it.

    The fear of not being included in richest that will follow is why BP stay where they are, they fear change, the fear the unknown. This also powers the fear of traveling abroad, especially Black Americans.

    The harping needs to stop, the time for talking is over, the time for action is needed.

    Community empowerment is what is at stake. This starts with making the places we live better than where Whites live, make them desire to live among us as we desire to live among them for safety and security.

    A recent community meeting in Baltimore, it was made known that everybody in the hood knows who the neighborhood drug dealer is. Just as everybody knows who the gang members and criminals are in Rio Favelas and Camden, NJ.

    The change starts with HOME. But since my home isn’t a hood and isn’t a favela, all I can do is produce productive children.

    In the eyes of those who own all, my children will be Black regardless.

  4. This problem of many single black women is not only in Brazil but mostly everywhere! In the United States there is the same problem, one thing I realized of white supremacy in the world wants to make all this white world they do not tolerate blacks or all those who have dark skin!
    The blacks marrying whites are slaves of an ancient, why get married and make children just with our enemy? The children mixed means forgetting what has fallen in the past and continues to happen? Interracial marriages are nothing but sponsorship white made from white supremacy! The whites created a racist and corrupt image on black women always taking as a model the prejudices especially those of a sexual! This is an organized system to destroy the black population!
    I do not tolerate this attitude of submission that some blacks with whites, and I do not speak because I am Brazilian but this problem I see it everywhere!

  5. Wow. 27% marriage rate for BW is low! Not sure what to say since that is significantly lower than the marriage rate for BW here in the U.S.

  6. Well there will be a lot more black men from outside of brazil that will be there in brazil so we will change somethings up bring up that marriage rate 😉

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