Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

“Braids are a salvation for those who have bad hair”: Boy band provokes controversy with comments about afro textured hair


Recent comments by Brazilian boy band Fly provoked controversy

Recent comments by Brazilian boy band Fly provoked controversy

Note from BW of Brazil: Imagine this. You have a whole pool full of dirty water. You take a 16 ounce glass and scoop out a glass of water from this pool. What type of water do you think you’ll get? The point here? Now lest anyone badly interpret my words, for the purpose of clarity, the ‘dirty water’ in this comparison would be Brazil’s general attitudes in terms of racial ideologies. In this latest gem of Eurocentric, racist views in Brazil, the comments of a member of the Brazilian boy band Fly represent simply another example of how deeply ingrained Brazilian beliefs about physical markers of African ancestry are. Let’s get to the story….

Musicians of the band Fly accused of racism on the web after controversial comments

Internet users considered band’s statements in interview prejudiced and sexist

Courtesy of the iBahia newsroom

Brazilian boy band, Fly

                               Brazilian boy band, Fly

The members of the band Fly were involved in a controversy on Sunday (4). Internet users criticized the musicians for statements made in the teen magazine Atrevida. One member, Caíque Gama, was considered racist by stating that tranças (braids) “for those who have cabelo ruim (bad hair) is a salvation.”

The image with the excerpt from the interview (top photo) went viral on the web and became a topic on social networks. “Disgusting of you. I was a fan, but I just got sick. Racial insults and discrimination, hate crimes, are non-bailable,” wrote one internet user. “What’s really bad is having to put up with this, your prejudice. By the way, my ‘cabelo ruim’ (bad hair) must be better than your character. And this hair here, the way that it is, shows the pride of a race, ok?!”, shot another.

Gama of the band Fly writes an apology - "I made a joke in an interview and many people interpreted very wrong this joke. I'm sorry if I offended anyone or if in any way you feel bad reading it. I'm really sorry, it was a joke in bad taste that will not happen again. Thanks for your attention. Whoever knows me knows that I am totally peaceful and that's it. Thank you." One response reads:  "Such horrible death, you can go on without this. BAD IS HEARING YOU SING!"

Above photo – Gama of the band Fly writes an apology – “I made a joke in an interview and many people interpreted very wrong this joke. I’m sorry if I offended anyone or if in any way you feel bad reading it. I’m really sorry, it was a joke in bad taste that will not happen again. Thanks for your attention. Whoever knows me knows that I am totally peaceful and that’s it. Thank you.” One response reads: “Such horrible death, you can go on without this. BAD IS HEARING YOU SING!”

After the controversy, Caíque defended himself on his Twitter account. “What the f*** is this that everybody’s cursing because I spoke bad of bad hair, huh? Where’s the magazine that released it. I’m p ***. Already there’s people coming that don’t know anything about my life, about my friends calling me a racist, wash your mouth to speak to me. I deny interpreting things and it takes evil to have reason to curse me. Ah, such laziness. If I offended someone, I said it jokingly. I find beautiful anyone whoever uses braids, who assumes a blackpower (afro), if I had it I would wear it, so shut up and you’ll be happy. Instead of looking for reason to cause trouble and strife and feeling ‘bad’ because of this, you’re being racist with yourself,” wrote the musician.

"If the band calls itself 'Fly', then fly far away from here" - Courtesy of Vini O.

“If the band calls itself ‘Fly’, then fly far away from here” – Courtesy of Vini O.

Elsewhere in the interview, Paulo Castagnoli said: “Sometimes I post a photo shirtless, so who am I to judge? I think it’s cool, but the girl has to act like a girl.” The statement also was not spared by internet users. “And the award for most sexist band of the year goes to the band Fly,” wrote one Twitter user.

Note from BW of Brazil: So let’s break down a few of this idiot’s ridiculous comments, shall we?

“everybody’s cursing because I spoke bad of bad hair”

Yes, “Mr. I have straight hair and white privilege” people are cursing you because this automatic association of Afro-Brazilians with ‘bad hair’ is responsible for the destruction of the self-esteem of millions of people and you fail to even recognize how your comments perpetuate this value system. Worse still in a teen magazine that rarely features black teenage girls with cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair) thus promoting the idea that only white girls with straight hair can be considered beautiful. 

“calling me a racist”

What’s amazing here is, like millions of other white Brazilians, he makes such a comment and then fails to see how it is racist. Another example of how the society is often quick to point out the racism in other individuals while completely failing to see it in themselves

“If I offended someone, I said it jokingly”

Jokes are very revealing. Often times in jokes there is a little truth in how someone really feels. The very fact that he used a term, “cabelo ruim”, that is associated with afro-textured hair points out that he either believes this to be true or that the belief is so widespread that the association is automatic in the minds of many. As in other jokes of bad taste, he apologizes only after being repudiated. The fact is, if he had said this in the privacy of only his close friends and associates, he most likely wouldn’t have even felt the need to offer a weak denial and apology. 

“I find beautiful anyone whoever uses braids, who assumes a blackpower (afro), if I had it I would wear it”

Yet more white privilege at its finest. People often make such statements when they know they will never actually have to stand in the shoes of the stigmatized other or take on the rejected attribute. The other absurdity here is that if he found such hair beautiful, he would never have referred to it as ‘ruim’ (bad). 

“you’re being racist with yourself”

Yet another absurdity. Defending one’s self against racist comments such as the one he made is not being ‘being racist with yourself’. If these comments weren’t such a regular occurrence in the everyday lives of afrodescendentes, there would be no need to defend one’s self against. He makes the comment and then attempts to spin it into self-hatred on the part of those defending themselves against his racist view. Incredible! 

So the verdict is in on this case. There was a racist comment on the part of public figure. He meant what he said and apologized only after social networks denounced him. Guilty as charged!

Source: Correio 24 Horas

4 comments on ““Braids are a salvation for those who have bad hair”: Boy band provokes controversy with comments about afro textured hair

  1. Tyrone
    October 6, 2015

    Why are blacks in Brazil still shocked by this blatant racism? Can we all agree that Brasilia is not a racial paradise as has been promoted for decades? I began to pay attention to the discrimination in the nation back in the late 90s. I was reading a magazine geared toward African-Americans. And, it featured an article on the shantytowns in the hills where poor afro-brazilians resided. Some respondents waxed poetic about black leaders ignoring their plight. This is the problem. Blacks in latin-america want it both ways. Segregated themselves from other blacks, and now they cry and moan about the racism among white portugese…Why? Is there such a thing as black pride in Brazil? Whites are not the problem, we allow them to treat us as doormats. Who’s the sucker in this dynamic? Again, racial envy is what this is. What else could it be?

    • bamabrasileira
      October 6, 2015

      LOL! You CLEARLY don’t understand the complex and paradoxical history of Brazil! But at least you are trying 😀

  2. bamabrasileira
    October 6, 2015

    I must admit that the comments of a non-entity, “white”, Brazilian boy band don’t really keep me up at night…

  3. Paula
    October 8, 2015

    Institutional racism in Brazil

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2015 by in racism, racist joke and tagged , , , , , , .
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