Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

The Night of the Black Beauty: Salvador, Bahia’s yearly homage to the beauty of the black woman

black Brazilian women
Candidates for the Deusa do Ébano do Ilê Aiyê

A Noite da Beleza Negra (The Night of the Black Beauty) competition that went down last night, Saturday, January 12th, at Senzala Barro Preto in the Curuzu/Liberdade neighborhood in Salvador, Bahia (1), chose the Deusa do Ébano do Ilê Aiyê (Ebony Goddess of Ilê Aiyê) for Carnival 2013. The Ilê Aiyê “bloco” is one of the most traditional African-influenced entities of Salvador’s yearly Carnaval and annually selects its muse for Carnival, among 13 finalists, aged 18 and 36. The winner takes over from last year’s winner, Edjane dos Santos Nascimento

The candidate elected, besides being prominently featured throughout the Carnival marches and rallies, will be Ilê Aiyê’s representative in events, trips and tours in and outside Brazil. The 13 finalists were defined after a series of qualifiers. The final vote was to take place starting at 10pm, with 10 to 12 jurors, who are members of Ilê and those invited from civil society.

For the choice of the goddess, hair, clothing design, dance and the resourcefulness of the candidates on the stage are all critiqued. All candidates live in Salvador, Bahia.

The yearly Deusa do Ébano of Ilê Aiyê contest represents a means to pay homage to the beauty of black women, particularly those of darker skin, who are made invisible, daily, monthly and year to year by the Brazilian media’s whitewashed, Eurocentric beauty standards. The very existence of Ilê Aiyê and the Ebony Goddess competition are prisms for which to gauge the overall struggle for representation, self-esteem and identity of the Afro-Brazilian population as a whole. For a brief understanding of why this group and competition are so important, please see our related articles below.

Here are the 13 candidates

Ana Paula da Silva Santos – A resident of the Curuzu neighborhood is 21 years old and competes for the title for the second year. She’s a student and wants to realize the goddess’s dream of representing the bloco.

Cátia Cilene de Castro – 34 years old, she lives on Avenida San Martin and competes for the 3rd time. She’s a dancer and educator. She wants the title to achieve “a goal in life”.

Cibele da Silva Santos – 24 years old and a resident of Itapuã. She competes in the competition for the 1st time. “Being a goddess is a childhood dream,” says the beautician. Her sister took the crown in 2010.

Daiana dos Santos Ribeiro – Lives in the Liberdade neighborhood and competes for the 4th time. Besides being a dancer, she is a student of nutrition. “It’s a dream I’ve had since childhood,” the 30 year old.

Daniele Nobre Nascimento – From Avenida Bonocô, she is competiting for the title for the 4th time. She is a secretary, 26 years old, and says he wants to be goddess. “If power is good, I want that too”, she says

Edna Jesus Santos: She is 22, lives in the historic Pelourinho district and disputes for the title for the 2nd time. She works in clothing design. “Being a goddess is a family dream”, says candidate
Edlane da Conceição – From the Fazenda Grande do Retiro region, she competes for the crown for the 2nd time. She is 20 years old and a student. “I want to represent the black woman,” she says.
Idalice Maria Nascimento – Lives in the Cidade Nova area, is 36 years old and competes for the 7th time. She is a business manager. Being a goddess, for her, “will be a personal and professional achievement.”
Joseane Nascimento – 28, and lives in the Brotas neighborhood. She competes for the title for the 3rd time. She is a snack vendor. “I want to fulfill my dream and that off my mother,” she stresses
Juciara do Espírito Santo – At age 31, she competes for the crown for the 4th time. She lives in the northeast and is a receptionist. For her, “goddess is having the self-affirmation of black women in society.”

Jucineide dos Santos – Competes or the title for the 4th time. She lives in the Pero Vaz region, is 27 years old and is an attendant. “I want to enhance the self-esteem of the black woman with the crown,” she says

Maiza Emanuele Silva – From Pero Vaz, she is an administrative assistant and competes for the 1st time. At age 24, she wants to “exalt the black woman in society” with the title of Ilê goddess.
Sueli dos Santos – The hairstylist of 31 years competes for the crown for the 7th time. “I want to (give) value to the culture of black people,” says Amaralina resident

1. Senzala Barro Preto is the headquarters of the Ilê Aiyê bloco afro. Senzala meaning slave house and pretomeaning black, Liberdade has always been thought to be the “blackest neighborhood” in Salvador, Bahia, a city in which 75-80% of the population consists of Afro-Brazilians. Liberdade was recently proven not to be Salvador’s blackest neighborhood, but it the neighborhood from which arose the important Ilê Aiyê bloco afro in 1974. The organization was formed to cultivate Bahia’s African roots and develop social projects that would redeem the self-esteem of the black population. 

Source: G1, A Tarde
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