Note from BW of Brazil: OK, this is intriguing and I’m more than a little interested. I admit I should have reported on this some time ago, but better late than never. The exciting news is that, after years of black and brown Brazilians complaining of the lack of representation in Brazil’s mainstream media, and very disappointed with depictions when they are repreasented, a new network is premiering that seeks to fill the gap in urban, peripheral and Afro-Brazilian cultural representation created by the major networks.
The new network that will be available on cable TV channels is called Trace Brazuca and will present 24 hours of programming. The full channel seems to be a 24-hour version of the program TRACE Trends that debuted on the RedeTV! network back in November of last year. TRACE Trends premiered on November 20th, which is celebrated as the Day of Black Consciousness in hundreds of cities across the country.
Similar to the TRACE Trends program, the TRACE Brazuca network also debuted on an important day for black Brazilians, the International Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women, which was yesterday, July 25th. I didn’t happen to catch the debut of the network yesterday, but I have seen some clips of the television program amnd I’ll say that I’m impressed with the visuals and topics that I’ve seen thus far, but as I’ve seen this sort of genre to appease the colored folk before, I’ll wait a bit to give an assessment on the programming.
You’ll have to forgive me, but I’ve simply seen to often when some sort of network, film, program or series is hyped up as something that black people have been long hoping for. I mean, Brazil’s track record shows why I feel this way. I won’t make this into a full essay, but as visually stimulating as the 2002 film Cidade de Deus (City of God) was, in the end, what image was the viewer left of the Afro-Brazilian characters?
Then in 2012, there was the Globo TV series Subúrbia that promoted itself by divulging the fact that the cast was 90% black. But then, in typical fashion, that series descended into familiar clichés and stereotypes about black Brazilians. Then in 2014, there was the Globo series Sexo e as Negas, which was so heavily criticized by black women that any talk of a second season immediately went down the drain. “What was the series about?” you might ask. Well, the title was Sexo e as negas, meaning something like ‘sex and the negresses’. Really, that’s about all you really need to know.
Then of course, there’s the example of BET, Black Entertainment Television in the US. Having watched the network for years, I watched as it slowly became a joke, a daily promotion of African-American stereotypes that one would assume it was created to avoid. Of course, BET isn’t even black-owned anymore, but given the shape of its programming before ownership changed hands (and race), it didn’t really matter. With some of the BS I had watched by the time the 21st century rolled around, the channel could have changed its name to Black Excrement Television and there would have been no need to change abbreviated title.
As could be expected, TRACE Brazuca’s CEO isn’t black, but it’s co-founder, Olivier Laouchez, of Martinican descent is, and judging from the TRACE TV program, it will have plenty of black faces. Seems like I’ve seen this formula before, but again, I’ll withhold judgment for now. The TRACE Trends TV program, which presents news, trends, analysis, interviews, music, rising artists and video, is hosted by popular digital influencer, Magá Moura, who, when discussing the programming last year said:
“The agenda of black representativeness in spaces of power and visibility has always been recurrent in black Brazilian movements. This achievement is a great reflection of the advances that many black people in Brazil have fought for for a long time.”
The verdict is still out on this one, but I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out. I will be doing a follow up report on this, but for now, check out the intro piece below.
Trace Brazuca: TV channel dedicated to Afro-Urban culture premieres in Brazil
By Pamela Espindola and Geovana Melo
It’s not by chance that the debut date of Trace Brazuca was chosen because it represents the fight against racism and the strength of the Brazilian women, which meets precisely the goals of Trace, to empower Afro-Urban culture and bring positivity to the identification with the history of Brazil. The date reinforces the channel’s intention to expand the voices of the black and peripheral Brazilian population and to value the Afro-urban cultural movement.
“Trace Brazuca is part of a journey that was crucial and necessary for the history of the media in Brazil, it was born with the purpose of empowering through entertainment,” says José Papa, CEO of Trace Brasil.
There will be 24 hours of programming dedicated to music of all genres, documentaries and shows of Brazilian urban culture. The curatorship will take into account artists and cultural movements from different regions of Brazil.
In this first moment, the channel will be available for subscribers of the Vivo and Claro cable TV providers, but it intends to expand to even the internet. The cultural channel with a focus on music and plans to promote works of fiction and documentaries by black creators, as well as other content focused on science, technology, entrepreneurship, cuisine and African history.
Trace Brazuca aims to enhance one of the most important cultural movements in the world, the afrourbano, meaning Afro Urban. The global experience of the Afro Urban media group Trace, present in more than 120 countries, results in a programming with universal language and multicultural content, bringing representation to more than 120 million pretos/pardos (black and brown) Brazilians, according to IBGE.
Among the attractions of the premiere are interviews with big names in music and cinema, such as Elza Soares and Sabrina Fidalgo. “Entertainment that has an origin that Brazilians are not used to seeing every day, our stories don’t just go through the pain and the stories that we normally see”, points out AD Júnior, head of marketing for the company.
“This project tells our story, our narrative, in a true and sensitive way. We are here to enhance the visibility of this agenda and these people so that they are legitimately represented. We will break this barrier with positive stories and plural talents. Certainly, we will see a Brazil increasingly understanding and respecting diversity, because that’s what Trace is,” explains AD.
With 24 hours of programming, TRACE Brazuca will have its grid composed of authorial content and success programs aired in other countries. As of July 25, all of Trace Brazuca’s programming will be available to subscribers of Claro (channel 624) and Vivo (channel 630).
“It’s a very important step in Brazilian audiovisual. Trace is not the first black channel in Brazil, but it is the first aimed at Afro-urban, aimed at black and peripheral people. They want to see each other and tell their own stories. Brazil has never had this place of creating content for black people who don’t want to see themselves in caricatured manner. We need to create spaces for inclusion. It is a very old dream,” concluded AD Júnior.
In a press conference, it was revealed that the idea is to expand the channel to various platforms such as YouTube and radio.
Below are some highlights of the channel’s programming:
It’s Trace’s editorial program of exclusive interviews with the most important artists in the music scene. The purpose is to entertain and ask the artist provocative questions, if he doesn’t want to answer, the artist just says: “skip”. As such, he or she avoids that question and moves on to the next one.
The playlist of the biggest African hits of the moment.
Selection of the best documentaries produced by Trace, such as: “History of Pope Wemba” that portrays the trajectory of the iconic, pioneer and intergenerational artist. “Afrobeats, from Nigeria to the world”, a musical documentary that tells how this musical genre influenced artists from around the world, among others
Trends, entertainment and urban culture program.
TRACE – SUA VOZ (YOUR VOICE)
The program in the form of 1-minute blocks brings messages from representatives of civil society and social organizations on a specific topic.
Trace Brazuca dedicates two hours of programming to the best of the Gospel universe.