Why does the success of these black women bother people so much?

Why does the success of these black women bother people so much-Q
Clockwise from top left – Journalist Maju Coutinho, actresses Taís Araújo, Sheron Menezes and Cris Vianna

Note from BW of Brazil: Perhaps the question posed by the title of this article could be complicated for some; requiring further investigation into the origins the racial hierarchy established in Brazil since its colonization in the 16th century. But, in reality, the response is quite simple. Brazil is a country in which persons who consider themselves to be white are accustomed to dominating the most important positions in society. The large population of black persons has always been associated with the margins of society and is expected to stay there, in their “place” that was symbolically established centuries ago. 

As we have seen in numerous examples, the Brazilian myth would have us believe that such problems for Afro-Brazilians wouldn’t exist if they attained an education and middle-class social status. In other words, according to the theory, the prejudice of everyday Brazilians would be social rather than racial. But the facts suggest otherwise. Studies in fact show us that the higher Afro-Brazilians climb the social ladder, the more prejudice they are likely to encounter. Put another way, as long as they stay in their “place” (the ghetto/periphery/favela/positions of low prestige), there’s no problem (well, if you don’t consider the regular Military Police bloodbaths that victimize so many black youth) but once they leave this ascribed “place” they will be reminded of their blackness as social success is not a shield against racism.  

The four women discussed in today’s material no doubt know this…

Why does the success of these black women bother people so much?

By Diego Iraheta

Taís Araújo, Maju Coutinho, Cris Vianna and now Sheron Menezes.

What do they have common? They are women. They are black. And they are the media. In the spotlight. They are stars, references, examples. At what other time has Brazilian TV had so many black women as protagonists in dramas or journalism?

Their participation is no longer figuration, configuring what would be “the place of the black” as well diagnosed in the 80s by thinkers like Lélia Gonzalez and Carlos Alfredo Hasenbalg. It is no coincidence that when you expand the space and visibility of such talented black women a sequence of offensive and discriminatory attacks take account in the social networks.

Just like the verbal aggressions toward blacks in universities accompanied the early adoption of affirmative action, inclusion and their ascension on TV also generates negative reactions.

Why does the success of black women bothers people so much?

Because they are increasingly represented.

Because there is a growing awareness of the cordial racism in Brazil. Because we talk more and more about it, demanding the deconstruction of racial roles that for years we accepted down our throats without question.

Because they are beautiful and proud. Their color. Their features. Their hair. Negras (black women).

What for centuries received the negative stamp for being “black” is now assimilated by much of the population as a source of pride. Of course, in a country where 53% of people are pretos (blacks) and pardos (brown), we still need more examples. Black doctors, lawyers (1), Supreme Court Ministers (Jusitices).

However, we’ve already see fruits of the historical struggle of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement), the implementation of quotas with racial orientation in public universities, the adoption of the Statute of Racial Equality and the debate about the representation of blacks in Brazilian society.

But as more black women leave the position of “minha empregada” (my housekeeper), unfortunately we will see more reactions suffered by black stars. They are “racist hidden under the supposed anonymity of the internet”, as Cris Vianna rightly pointed out.

The Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are already behind them.

And it doesn’t matter whether they are merely haters that just want attention. As Sheron noted, racial discrimination “affects millions of people in Brazil every day.” Because of this, punishing these racist demonstrations on social networks has a pedagogical character.

The racist needs to learn that his conduct is a crime, regardless of the person who addresses the offenses. And he/she need to understand that this does not allow disrespect or hatred toward any black woman. Your repression and racism will only feed the shine of Sheron, Maju, Cris, Taís.

Source: Brasil Post


  1. The two links we share here and here of black lawyers simply re-iterate the point of the article.


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


  1. It´s always scary when you feel that someone more intelligent thatn you, more beautiful than you, more talented than you, more creative than you, and more appealing than you is about to move into a space you thought that you owned as your birthright! If I were a Basick Becky, these women would have me running for the hills and throwing rocks too! 😀

    • Yep! lts funny how Black women are put down for having these beautiful features but let a White woman mimick them and she will be classified as god gift to the world.Hypocrisy at it’s best.

  2. If anything..one of those 4 women should have been walking on that stage during the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Giselle should have taken several seats.

    The reason why Brazil and the rest of the world think that White women are the most attractive beings on this earth is because of the ” White worship”. It’s like every other race have to take place to White skin…you must like it..even if you look bad..if you’re White, you must say they’re pretty no matter what.

    I had enough of Giselle here in the States with that cheating football playing husband of hers( Tom Brady). It’s like ” Oooh Giselle ! ” and don’t let cheating husband and her get together..omg! you’ll never stop hearing the end of them talking about Tom’s
    ” hot” wife.Really?! Is because she’s a stunner ( not really) or because she’s White?

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