Note from BW of Brazil: What better way to finish up a celebration of black women of Latin America and the Caribbean than with a post dedicated to 10 black women who are making things happen in the very state most recognized for its black population: Bahia. Some enthusiasts of Afro-Brazilian personalities may already be familiar with a few of these women, either from our blog, visits to Bahia or other news sources on the web. So whether you are familiar with all of them, a few of them or none of them, check these special ladies out below!
10 black women who make a difference in Bahia
They are prominent in society and fight discrimination
By Kátia Prado and Érica Lago
On July 25 the Day of Latin American and Caribbean Black Women is commemorated. The date set by the United Nations serves to reaffirm the commitment to the appreciation of them, and give visibility to the struggles and resistance of the black woman. What they all want is to strengthen the fight against racism, sexism, discrimination, prejudice and other racial and social inequalities.
With great determination and dedication, black women have shown what they can do and how they can make a difference when they are active in society. R7 in Bahia brings the story of ten baianas (Bahian women) who well-represent the Brazilian spirit.
She’s 20 years old, but became known at 16, when she founded the Desabafo Social network. A student of the interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on politics and culture management at UFBA (Federal University of Bahia), she soon understood her role in society and decided to make a difference. In March 2014, her project Desabafo Social won the Prêmio Protagonismo Juvenil award from the Associação Brasileira de Magistrados, Promotores de Justiça e Defensores Públicos da Infância e Juventude (Brazilian Association of Judges, Prosecutors and Public Defenders of Childhood and Youth). Her attitude and courage made her become known nationally and now she travels throughout Brazil to participate in events related to the Human Rights of Children and Youth, Communication and Education.
From a dreaming youth to someone who makes it happen! This is how the soteropolitana (Salvador native) has made her project gain collaborators in several states
It seems she was born smiling. The quituteira Aldaci Dada dos Santos, popularly known as Dadá, began her battle at age 16 making lunches to sell and help the family, but her passion for cooking led Dadá further.
Owner of several trendy restaurants in Salvador, Dadá conquered Brazil with her simplicity, easy laugh and her unique spice that comes from Bahia
State Representative (PRB), Eronildes Vasconcelos, better known as Tia Eron, or Aunt Eron, is a warrior and carries in her history the mark of breaking prejudices in society, such as racism and sexist concepts, that imposes the idea that women are inferior and blacks are second-class. Black, a widow, mother and coming from a humble family, Tia Eron has many achievements on her resume: the first woman to direct the Bahian PRB (Partido Republicano Brasileiro or Brazilian Republican Party), the most voted for woman of Bahia and the most voted for woman of her party in Brazil.
Since she was young, she has been involved with volunteer work and became a councilor in 2000, where he developed several projects. One of her first acts was to seek the reinstatement of the Temporary Committee to Combat Discrimination against Women. Her political life is highlighted by her struggle in defense of women, the appreciation of black people and children.
Singer/songwriter Margareth Menezes has 25-year career and is considered one of the most powerful voices of Brazilian Popular Music (MPB). Charismatic, Margareth exalts the mixture of rhythms, dances and culture. Her songs are full of African, Brazilian, Indian and pop elements.
The singer began her career in 1987. In addition to winning several awards and getting international recognition since the 90s, taking the groove of Bahia abroad in her passages to the United States, Margareth was compared to singer Aretha Franklin, one of the main icons of black music.
The deputy mayor of Salvador was born in São Paulo, but as a child moved to the capital city of Bahia. With a degree in Accounting and Law, she is an example of dedication and strength in the political arena. In 2008 she was elected councilor and the next year became president of the Municipal Council of Women, a position she held for two consecutive terms. She also became the first black woman elected deputy mayor of Salvador.
A Baiana (Bahian) in her heart, Célia began acting in social movements under the influence of her mother. She, who is also the mother of two young people, is recognized for her strong performance in advocacy for the rights of blacks and women
A beautician and hair artisan Negra Jhô cultivates beleza afrodescendente (African descendant beauty), the empowerment of women, self-esteem and the emancipation of black identity. Negra Jhô owns a beauty salon located in the Pelourinho, in Salvador’s Historical downtown, and works with a line dedicated to the African aesthetic that allows extravagance, a mixture of styles and freedom of expression.
Be it a turban, accessories, props, braids or hairstyles, the artisan wants to show the value of the Afro-descendant movement and its importance to our culture. She has already secured several awards as the Troféu Cidadão Negro (Black Citizen Trophy), Força Sindical da Bahia/International Women’s Day, and Personality of the Reconcavo/São Francisco do Conde (region), among others.
The baiana Luislinda Valois was the first black woman to become a judge in Brazil. This is just one of many achievements that she has on her resume. As a child, she was discriminated against by a teacher because he couldn’t buy the suitable material to study. The teacher said she shouldn’t be studying but cooking feijoada (beans) for white people. It was then that she decided to make it in life through education.
Even being the first black woman to sentence someone based on the Law on Racism in Brazil, she had to face the challenge of being accepted as a magistrate. The CNJ (National Council of Justice) ruled that she was promoted to the position of chief judge of the Court of Bahia (TJ-BA), using as its main argument the seniority criterion for granting promotions. Today, at 73, she continues to fight so that black women have more space in society.
From the Bahian Recôncavo region to the world, the designer Carol Barreto expresses her ideology and political position through fashion. Full of personality, the feminist attempts to break the stereotypes related to the image of black women, bringing the legacy of African-based art.
In 2005, Carol Barreto secured first place in the Novos Criadores da Moda (New Creators Fashion), VL Pontes Organização of events. In 2012 she was awarded the “Concursos Novos Talentos da Moda” (New Talents of Fashion Contests), and represented Brazil at the Dakar Fashion Week in Senegal, in June 2013.
An entrepreneur, Carol Barreto is also professor of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in fashion design and professor of the bachelor’s degree in gender studies and diversity of UFBA (Federal University of Bahia). She has experience in the field of gender studies, sexuality, ethnic /race relations and fashion, develops work related to the process of redesign of fashion, exploring the relationships between language, fashion, clothing and construction of the characters of gender and sexual identities.
The talent of the baiana with the distinctive voice was discovered by Caetano Veloso in 1997, during a rehearsal of the Olodum Theater Band. Of humble origin, the former manicurist Virgínia Rodrigues sings MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) songs and has on her CDs appearances by MPB legends Djavan, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento.
Her story became internationally known in American newspapers and was named the “Brazilian Cinderella.” The passion that she stamps on the songs she sings and in everything that she does it contributed to her leaving the post of poor girl from Salvador to the diva of Brazilian music.
Innovative designer and creative manager, Thaís Muniz is the creator of the Turbante-se Project, that experiments the issue of communication through the aesthetic poetry of turbans by accessories and the mixture of different cultures.
She appreciates movements of peripheral communities and also independent acts in addition to spreading the black aesthetic in fashion tutorials and workshops on social networks. She has participated in actions in hospitals, such as Outubro Rosa (Pink October), in the campaign against breast cancer.