Note from BW of Brazil: Actually, I was beginning to wonder if this would ever happen. A little over a week ago, this blog featured a story about the Minister of Policies to Promote Racial Equality saying it was necessary to change the image of black women in the Brazilian media as Afro-Brazilian women are often viewed according to stereotypes associated with domestic work or sexuality. In sharing the story, the above photo was actually one of the photos used to promote the story. A week later and the group in the photo is being investigated for the sexual nature of their shows. The crazy thing is that 4 of the 5 girls in the group are teenagers with the youngest being 13 years old.
In previous posts, the blog has also featured stories that touched on the music phenomenon in Brazil known as “Funk Carioca” but increasingly being called simply “funk” (pronounced “foon-ky” in Brazil). If you haven’t read any of those posts, understand that while this music is called “funk”, it’s style was more akin to ’90s American Miami Bass than the variety made famous by the likes of music legends such as Parliament-Funkadelic or James Brown. Sexually aggressive lyrics, fast beats and suggestive dancing are all synonymous with the style. Dances such as the “one-legged kangaroo” or the “bottle dance”, both plays on sexual positions, were two of the dance crazes associated with this music, thus the dance featured in this music video should come as no surprise. Perhaps surprising (or not) is that this video now carries a message from YouTube that reads “This video may be inappropriate for some users”.
The manager of this group claims that there is no sexual nature to the girl’s songs. Take a look at the video and you decide. But like the “twerk” and “stanky leg” craze in the US, the dance (if you want to call it that) featured in this video will again draw a line between those who say “it’s only dancing” and those who wonder where these girls’ parents are. Considering past posts about the sexual and/or negative images of black Brazilian women in the imagination of the public, one must ask, why is it that this appears to be the only way that girls/women of African descent can make a name for themselves in Brazil? Hear the song, see the video and read the lyrics at the end of this post.
The investigation began after a complaint from the Conselho Tutelar (Guardian Council) of the state of Minas Gerais who claim that the funkeiras’ (funk singers) show has a very strong sexual element
by the editors of Gente & Variedades
The girls of the funk group Bonde das Maravilhas, who became famous on the internet due to the success of the video “Aquecimento das Maravilhas” (loosely meaning, the “Maravilhas heating up”), were reported to the Conselho Tutelar (Guardian Council) of the southeastern state of Minas Gerais due to what was described as the strong sexual element of their show. According to the column Retratos da Vida (Portraits of Life) of the Extra newspaper, the Prosecutor for the Children and Youth of the city of Niterói (Rio de Janeiro state) is investigating irregularities in the girls’ performances.
Also according to the publication, the mothers of Kathy, 20; Thayssa, 15; Rafaela, 16; Karol, 17, and Renatinha, 13, have already been heard by prosecutors. In order not to disturb the girls’ groove, there is already talk of a change in their style. They are finalizing two songs for the children’s market and will wear tamer clothes than the Daisy Duke style cut off jeans the group became famous for. “We’re finishing (the songs) “Abcedário” and “A ginástica das Maravilhas”. Our songs don’t are not of a sexual nature,” defends manager Henrique Milão.
Another concern with the group is the girls’ education. Of the five, only Kathy, 20, has graduated from high school. Residents of two communities in Niterói (Engenhoca) and São Gonçalo, they profess to not liking the classroom very much.
Coming from poor families (some are daughters of street sweepers and manicurists), the quintet met at school two years ago. Together, they had a dream of becoming famous and improving their lives. “I want to buy a house for my grandmother who raised me. I don’t have a father. I really do, but I say I that I don’t,” Rafaela vents, one of the Metralha sisters.
Success on the Internet, with video that has reached 26 million views, they are preparing their first DVD and have even caught the attention of soccer ace Neymar. Through his Twitter account, the Neymar quoted Bonde das Maravilhas as one of Rio’s attractions. “I dreamed that I was his girlfriend,” says Thayssa playfully. “We’re lacking him calling us to dance with him,” Kathy offers.
Bonde das Maravilhas – Aquecimento das Maravilhas (CLIPE OFICIAL)
Aquecimento das Maravilhas (lyrics in English and Portuguese)
The bonde das maravilhas is the new sensation
And to start, call Karol Popozão (big butt)
Put your booty on the floor, go,
Put your booty on the floor, go
Put your booty on the floor, go
At the request of the young ones she’s representing
Come maravilha Thaysa boom, boom, boom, swinging
Bum bum bum swinging bum bum bum swinging
Katy’s heating up, she’ll hypnotize you
Come maravilha Katy sliding, sliding, sliding
The sisters coming out with a new style
Keep your legs up high make a little eight square
Make a little eight square make a little square
Make a little square, make a little eight square
Make a little eight square
O bonde das maravilhas é a nova sensação,
E pra começar chama Karol do popozão
Cola a bunda no chão vai, cola a bunda no chão vai
Cola a bunda no chão vai
A pedido dos novinhos ela vem representando
Vem Thaysa maravilha bum bum bum girando
Bum bum bum girando bum bum bum girando
A Katy no aquecimento ela vai te hipnotizando
Vem a Katy maravilha deslizando, deslizando, deslizando
As irmãs metralhas vem lançando um jeito novo
Fica de pernas pro alto faz quadradinho de oito
Faz quadradinho de oito faz quadradinho
Faz quadradinho faz quadradinho de oito
Faz quadradinho de oito…
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