Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

“The day in which Beyoncé became black”: The view from Brazil


Beyonce Super Bowl 2016.2

Note from BW of Brazil: OK so the media bombshell that was the Super Bowl performance of American singer Beyoncé is already old news. But the repercussions are still ongoing. In the latest reactions, groups have threatened to protest the National Football League over the singer’s performance and the Nation of Islam has stepped in and offered to provide security for the entertainer’s concert tour since the police doesn’t care to provide its services. All of this over a few minutes of singing and dancing? This is unbelievable on so many different levels!

One might ask why a blog that focuses on black Brazilian women and issues dealing with race in Brazil is even talking about a singer who is not Brazilian. Well the fact is that Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s performance had repercussions around the world, including the country in which many consider as having the largest population of African descendants outside of Africa. Even with February coming to a close, material coming from Brazilian sites and blogs about the “Queen B’s” performance are still being posted. As one piece showed a few days ago, Brazil simply has no equivalent of a black woman reaching the career heights of Beyoncé, so when a black woman causes such an international stir, her actions will be discussed and critiqued throughout the African Diaspora, and that includes Brazil.

But let’s take a quick look at this performance and come to some conclusions. Because of much of the imagery that Beyoncé used in her performance, there were folks out there calling her an activist, militant, a revolutionary. Huh? Because she made references to the Black Panthers because of her all-black female dance troop dressed in black and wearing afros? Because they formed an X at one point in the performance, apparently a reference to human rights icon, Malcolm X?

OK, but let’s get real. Beyoncé is NOT a revolutionary, nor a militant, nor an activist. What is my rational for saying this? For one thing, she is one of the best paid entertainers in the world and if she were a true threat to the system or were declare herself a leader of such a movement, the “powers that be” would have destroyed her career and possibly eliminated her years ago. How can one be revolutionary singing a song like “Formation” that speaks of being a black Bill Gates or taking her man to Red Lobster is he “f*cks her right”? The fact is that if Beyoncé were truly a threat, such a performance would not have been even allowed on television, much less on the single most watched television event in the United States. Didn’t Gil Scott-Heron once tell us that “the revolution will not be televised”? So then what does this say about Beyoncé’s performance?

Gil Scott Heron

I also wonder, in Brazil, the United States and so many other countries in which natural black hair is ridiculed, how revolutionary was it that one of the biggest black female stars in the world chose to continue rocking her straight, blond weave while her unknown dancers wore afros? Not exactly an example to be followed for black women, such as those in Brazil, who in recent years have come to proudly accept and wear their natural hair in a society that belittles them for daring to reject the European aesthetic of beauty.

But the debate over B’s performance is significant for at least two reasons, one of which applies to both the United States and Brazil and the other which speaks specifically to the state of race relations in Brazil. In the first case, in both countries, it is common that persons who consider themselves to be white don’t necessarily see certain black people as being black, at least in the stereotypical manner of which blackness is associated in their minds. If a black person is very attractive, well-liked by the general public, is very rich or articulates himself or herself very well, the general white population may indeed not envision the person in question as black or at least not “that black”. In other words, according to widespread social constructions, black people are not perceived to be “regular people”, physically attractive, worthy of emulation or of upper class status. If they break through any of these socially-constructed stereotypes, speak out on racial issues or align themselves with any form of black militancy that challenges the desire of whiteness to shut down the very debate, they somehow cease being black. We’ve seen examples of this ideology in films such as Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, or in parody as in the Saturday Night Live skit entitled “The day Beyoncé turned black” (the video below translated the title of the skit as “O dia em que pessoas brancas descobriram que Beyoncé é negra” or ‘the day that white people discovered that Beyoncé is black’)

SNL

SNL skit: “Yeah, but I can still be black”

It’s an issue that black Brazilians are quite familiar with. After all, according to Brazilian consensus, why would any Brazilian define him or herself as “negro” or “preto” when they can just be “morenos”, which is much more “acceptable”? How many Afro-Brazilians have already heard reactions such as “Negro/Negra?!?! You’re too pretty/light-skinned/intelligent/nice to be negro/negra!” The SNL skit resonated with untold numbers of black Brazilians who related to the video due to their own experiences, which is no doubt one of the reasons the video was edited and re-posted on You Tube with Portuguese subtitles.

I must also point out the significance of such a performance in a place such as Brazil where there has never been a black artist making such a statement in such a highly publicized event. Even though I reject any idea that B’s performance was in any way revolutionary, I DO see the value of invoking such images of resistance for black people in a country in which its most nationally and internationally recognized black stars such as Pelé, Neymar or actor Milton Gonçalves would never make such a bold statement on the issues of race or racism. For those who don’t know, both Pelé and Neymar have been utter disgraces in terms of racial matters, with Gonçalves rejecting the idea of racial exclusion in the naming of the 2016 Oscar nominees and other famous black Brazilians only willing to utter the cliché that “we are all equal” (see here and here), a phrase which does more to deny the reality of racism than confronting it.

Morena no

“Morena no! Black and beautiful!”

So while I reject the idea that we mention Beyoncé’s name alongside that of Fred Hampton, I DO understand the meaning of her performance, even if it was only an image for show; because in Brazil, there simply isn’t anyone of status making such statements, real or artificial.

The day in which Beyoncé became black

Some individuals are our friends and admirers for convenience only. It’s enough that we do something or express an opinion that does not give them satisfaction to their supreme will and that’s it. The friendship and admiration ends. In truth, the admiration never existed; the friendship much less. You were only one piece on the board of that person’s life. While you were ensuring to them points, ok! When he/she realizes that you will not play their game, the person applies to you a game over. In other words, I don’t want to chat anymore. You no longer serve for me.

By Tom Nêggo

Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Cassandra Clare And Director Of "The Mortal Instruments" At The Americana

Singer Beyoncé is experiencing the bitter taste of this hypocritical part of humanity. This portion is much greater than we can imagine. The artist was one of the attractions on stage at the Super Bowl at the end of halftime of the American football championship, which usually has the largest TV audience in the US. The then great diva of American pop music, sang her new song, “Formation”, whose lyrics touch on the wound of racism in the US and blasts the violence and murders committed by abuse of power by police and in which victimizes blacks in that country for decades.

Beyonce Super Bowl 2016.4

Besides dressing, she and her dancers, in outfits which referred to the Black Panthers group, an organization between the years 1960 and 1980 denouncing the abuses suffered by the population on the part of the US police and preached a black revolution in the country, Beyoncé also made a “X” during her performance, in a clear reference to Malcolm X, the great black leader and advocate of black nationalism in the US. One of the phrases of the song sung by Beyoncé on stage at the Super Bowl said: “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, cause I slay” It was a total uproar. She had just become the greatest quarterback in the history of the Super Bowl, with a pass of 100 yards, precise and accurate. But the ball fell like a bomb in the hands of the receiver. And as no one can hold a hot potato, discord occurs.

Beyoncé provoked the ire of conservatives and was triggered a boycott campaign against the artist. Even the former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, spoke out against the black empowerment discourse of the singer, claiming that the singer attacked the American police and encouraged violence. Other groups, including fans of the Super Bowl, repudiated what they classified as “hate speech and racism” and even organized a protest outside the headquarters of the National Football League. But why did a simple song generate so much controversy? Why is the diva of international pop is being placed on the wall?

is black

“I think that Beyoncé is BLACK!”

Imagine you, who are black and reads this article, to talk about racism with your friends, neighbors or co-workers who are not black. Bring up the entire historical embarrassment that was caused to your ancestors and which today has consequences in our society. Surely you will hear phrases like: “Isso é coisa da sua cabeça” (This is all in the head), “Isso não existe mais” (This doesn’t exist anymore), “Somos todos iguais” (We are all equal.) But if you insist and decide to speak more forcefully, not accepting the inferior treatment given to you by your boss, not remaining silent in the face of racist attitudes in your day to day and putting your finger in the face and wound of whoever is a carrier of an internalized racism and does not realize that, get ready! You will be seen as a danger to society.

Beyonce Super Bowl 2016.3

The oppressed becomes the oppressor of those whose ideas oppresses them, when not silent in the face of oppression suffered. Your righteous indignation at the injustice imposed on you ends up being used against you, arguing that is you are a highly dangerous subversive and that at any moment can spark a wave of backlash on the oppressed, thus preventing the system to continue to favor the traditional fascist variety that holds power. In fact this is a dangerous subversive is a liberator who educates others and alerts them to assert equal rights in relation to all. Beyoncé was subversive in the eyes of fascists. She dared to publicly challenge a system that thus far hadn’t seen her, or pretended not to see her as black, because of the social position she occupies and also due to the fact that until then she had not spoken out so forcefully against institutionalized racism in our society.

The conforming, subservient black who believes in meritocracy and in social justice of the fascists is always well accepted. Especially because he knows his place. He will not want to bother anyone. But the libertarian, contesting black with personality, is always a problem. He or she is controversial, problematic, wants to be treated with respect, wants the same rights, no longer wants to stay in the oblivion of the senzala (slave quarters) and oppression. The racist freaks out! Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” is behind us. The American thought she was white and when they discovered that she is hasn’t ceased being a successful black woman, they were disappointed. Maybe now I understand why our Pelé doesn’t let go of his social “White face”. He is the king of futebol and if they discover that he is black, his crown can be passed on to another head. After all, in the land of fascist, not everyone can be king. But anyone is crowned, since they think and act like one.

Long live the resistance!

Source: Brasil 247

10 comments on ““The day in which Beyoncé became black”: The view from Brazil

  1. bamabrasileira
    February 27, 2016

    I think that what Beyonce did was quite revolutionary – particularly since she made a point to release the full video of the song “Formation” 1 day before the Super Bowl performance. It is quite a thing to release an extremely “pro Black” video that is uplifting to Southern Black folks, alludes to the Black royalty and upper classes that STILL exists everywhere, but whom we never really hear about, but which also shows that its also ok to not be a Black aristocrat! It is quite revolutionary for one of the most powerful Black women on the planet (lest anyone try to reduce her to being “merely” a pop singer) to publicly stand in solidarity with her Black sisters anf brothers – historically and in the present – to protest police violence against Blacks and to positively show the wide range of “Blackness” to the masses. It was such a revolutionary act that we are still talking about it worldwide almost a month after the Super Bowl. When have we EVER seen such a powerful Black and wildly popular performer risk her entire image and career to dress her dancers in afros and Black Panther gear, give the “Black Power” signal during the performance, and unabashedly sing about who she is as a Black woman and how much she loves it? We have NEVER seen it!

    The writer of this piece says that Beyonce is experiencing the “bitter taste of humanity” and he alludes to the idea that, maybe, Queen B didn’t know what she was doing and what she was risking. This writer must be forgiven because he is not American and doesn’t know the nuances of American culture. Make no mistake – this woman knew EXACTLY what she was doing and that she might face some backlash (as she did from white feminists who somehow decided that a hot, rich, powerful and talented Black singer could not ALSO identify as a feminist). I am happy that Beyonce so courageously did what she did, and that her latest tour will sell out because of it. Those who haven’t seen the full video (so that they can understand the FULL message) should watch it:

  2. Brittany
    March 2, 2016

    This article is quite disgusting. Stop questioning ones activism. Stop trying to dismiss ones work. What Beyonce did was important. She minded the world that she is indeed a black woman and she stands with her black sisters and brothers again against police brutality and stereotypes. And her blonde straight hair? First, there are black people with blonde hair. 2nd: where is Beyonce’s hair straight in her Super Bowl performance? Where was her hair straight in the formation video? This article spent most of its time knocking down Beyonce. No wonder many black celebs don’t uplift their blackness in public. They know there are too many people white AND black ready to knock them down and question their love of being black. Beyonce may not be YOUR revolutionary or YOUR activist but in the eyes of many younger people, in the eyes of many black Americans, in the eyes of many southern black Americans , she did something that most thought would be unthinkable. She showed the WORLD that she is proud of being black while acknowledging the often demonized black lives matter movement, Malcolm X AND the black panthers party—- btw the black panthers party was started in Oakland and the superbowl was in that city. Beyonce knew what she was doing and your suggestion that she didn’t expect the backlash is quite comical. Every black American knows that showing black pride will always be considered a threat. The FBI’s COINTELPRO let us all know this. Loving your blackness and being unapologetically black is not what white supremacy wants. But what they do want is authors like you who will be willing to downplay any black ACTIVISTS movements. Friendly reminder since you brought up Fred Hampton…remember Fred Hampton was murdered by the same white supremacy that Beyonce demananded to “stop shooting us”.

    And NEVER question someone’s blackness. You are no different than those white people who would rather call a black woman “Morena” because she’s pretty, light and has softer hair. Don’t participate in anti-black activities

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      March 2, 2016

      Dear Britanny,

      Thank you for taking the time to write, but I will say that often times accusations are made of comments that were never actually said or in this case written.

      1) Nowhere in this article was a question of Beyonce’s blackness.

      2) I stand by what I wrote. At this point in her career, Mrs. Knowles-Carter is not someone who is gonna give up her hundreds of millions of dollars to plunge head first into true black militancy. I stand by my words. If the “powers that be” really thought that way, she would have NEVER been allowed to be on the most watched event on American television. The images were inspiring in some ways, but it was a SHOW! It is a perfectly timed gimmick to sell her product. PERIOD.

      3) Black Lives Matter, like the Civil Rights Movement, is manufactured. PERIOD. Whoever pays for such movements, controls such movements. So tell me, who is bankrolling BLM?

      4) The intent of this article was not “knocking down Beyonce” as you see it. But rather bringing forth some simple truths. Beyonce is an entertainer who is NOT here to “rock to boat”.

      5) Blonde hair? I’ve already spoken on this, no need to repeat.

      6) “she did something that most thought would be unthinkable”. I don’t see what she did as ‘unthinkable’. Maybe in Brazil it would be unthinkable, but in a US History that includes displays such as the ’68 Olympics, BPP with guns in California, Muhammad Ali’s boastful pride and even a character like Huey Freeman, Beyonce’s imagery is certainly not new from the American perspective. The very reason that the people of this generation would be excited by such a display is because since about the 60s, black Americans have been guided toward integration while true militant voices are hardly known and/or are silenced.

      7) If we looked at the fact that the mainstream media allowed this performance, then we can see it for what it was: Yet another log into the fire of stirring up racial strife. Which is exactly what has happened since the performance. White folks hated it, black folks loved it! More social engineering.

      There is no Beyonce-bashing here. I simply shared a more critical analysis of the performance. Period.

      • bamabrasileira
        March 4, 2016

        Hi Gatas, though you did not address me in your reply, I cannot help but to respond:

        Why does Beyonce need to “plunge into true Black militancy?” Are you suggesting that the only way she should/could be taken seriously is to destroy her career and become a poor person? What she did is not ok with you because she was ALLOWED to do it??

        Many of us are constantly in danger of missing the forest for the trees because we cannot accept the shades of progress when they reveal themselves to us loudly and clearly.

        Also, people want to hate on Beyonce all day long, but the fact is that she is an excellent business woman. Believe it or not, controversy sells – be it at the Super Bowl, at a boxing match, or during a presidential debate. Why shouldn’t she use her platform to both make a statement AND sell her tour? Must one absolutely cancel out the other? And don’t EVEN tell me that people love/support M. Ali ONLY because he was a talented boxer! He was talented AND he was an entertainer that kept butts in the seats! The same can be said for Blacks with strong voices who were “allowed” to be heard. Militant Blacks who want to overthrow white supremacy by next year, get some money from the government, not go to jail for committing crimes that they KNOW are considered crimes in the society that they live in (no matter how unfair the judicial system)…well…those people will continue to shout into the void with no one listening…

        Movements are operated by human beings. Human beings – by our very nature – are fallible and imperfect. Just because the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter are imperfect, does not mean that they are not impactful. That they haven’t absolutely solved centuries of racism on the planet seems a bit of a tall order. Also, as I have stated in other comments, younger Blacks have the LUXURY of claiming that NOTHING has changed since the 60s. Older Blacks usually beg to differ (I am speaking of America here, rather than the plight of Blacks globally). I know that I am a Black woman who grew up in the heart of where the CRM took place (shout out to anyone from Alabama or the dirty south). I could/can confidently: use any toilet I wanted, eat at any restaurant I wanted, sit wherever I wanted at a play or movie, walk down the street without getting lynched by the KKK, get the best education at an excellent public high school, and a great university…oh the list is long..

        What I could not and STILL CANNOT do are: Not go to jail for publically doing drugs or being a prostitute (even though a white girl could get off), yell at a police officer without getting punched or shot (even though a white girl could probably get away with it), not speak English impeccably and get away with it (though a white girl could), be poor (NO ONE receives a get out of jail free card for this one, I’m afraid…), yell at my mother and not get slapped accross the face (though a white girl DEFINITELY would get away with it). When I review the things American society does not “allow” me to do….well…most of them are things that most of us could probably live without anyway…

        Beyonce DEFINITELY has done “rocked the boat” (and it still be rockin…) 🙂 You would need to peruse American media to gain a true appreciation for for the level of the rocking of the boat Beyonce has done rocked…

        Also, one must also consider that, it is BECAUSE of the actions of the Blacks that came before Queen B (M. Ali, Nina Simone, Malcom X, John Carlos, etc) that she CAN perform in the way she did and not be completely cut down for it. And why is that? It’s because, despite what some would have you believe, Blacks in America have come a loooong way since the Civil Rights era and before. Also, does Beyonce really need to be a “Black Militant?” That is not what she is, nor has she ever claimed to be. What she HAS claimed is support for her Black brothers and sisters in the form that she best knows how to support them. I don’t need for Beyonce to write a thesis on the subject, declare her hatred of white people/culture/etc., or go on a news program and even speak on the issue. She is staying in her lane and she is allowed to.

        As always, your voice is an important one. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
        March 4, 2016

        Hello again bamabrasileira!!

        Even when we disagree I always enjoy your comments and your taking the time to write them!!

        With that said (written) let me address a few of your points.

        “Are you suggesting that the only way she should/could be taken seriously is to destroy her career and become a poor person?”

        Not really, but unfortunately that’s usually the way it goes. In the world in which we live I have yet to see an example of someone who has been able to merge the pinnacle of financial success without selling out in one form or another. Most of my heroes spoke a lot of truth but never gained much money from it. Malcolm X is perhaps the best example but far from the only one. My point is that the system is set up so that those who have the potential to “rock the boat” will never be able to attain the audience to do such. If they do, then you’ll know they’re bought and paid for. See Al Sharpton, for example.

        “shades of progress when they reveal themselves to us loudly and clearly”

        I don’t disagree with the idea of shaded of progress. I simply don’t figure Beyonce into this in terms of moving a struggle forward. She represents more of the “movin’ on up” ideal of individual black success. But as I have argued often in the past, the success of individual blacks does nothing for the position of black people as a group. The same applies to Obama or Oprah. Or Mobutu for that matter!

        “people want to hate on Beyonce all day long, but the fact is that she is an excellent business woman”

        As it seems that you read my response to a previous comment, I don’t really need to address this because that’s really what I was implying by the timing of her performance. As a business woman selling her product, excellent move!

        “Believe it or not, controversy sells”

        Again, no argument here. Again, this is along the lines of my previous response.

        “Just because the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter are imperfect, does not mean that they are not impactful.”

        Depends on how you look at it. All due respect to all to shed blood, sweat and tears for a struggle but often times the agenda of the leadership of these movements is different from the nameless persons who are committed. I see this in both the CRM and BLM.

        “You would need to peruse American media to gain a true appreciation for for the level of the rocking of the boat Beyonce has done rocked”

        In fact, I have, which is part of the reason for the post and the previous response. The assessment of the whole thing is what I disagree with, which is what prompted me to write the introduction of the post as well as the response. I know how people saw the performance; I simply disagree.

        “does Beyonce really need to be a “Black Militant?””

        I didn’t say/write she did. I simply explained reasons for why she is not, as so many people saw things in that performance that are simply images rather than substance.

        “That is not what she is, nor has she ever claimed to be.”

        I know this so what’s the problem with me emphasizing this to be true?

        “She is staying in her lane and she is allowed to.”

        Absolutely.

        In ending this response, in recent years I’ve learned to “look behind the curtains” (as what happened in the ‘WIZARD OF OZ’) because things that people perceive to be one thing are often times completely different. But the deception has a purpose. It is up to us to be able to perceive something as real rather simply image/mirage. I’ve spent a lot of time ‘unlearning’ many lies that we’ve been taught and, as such, I’m a little more keen to see things for what they are rather than what they appear to be.

      • bunch1938
        March 4, 2016

        “Bank rolling BLM” Black lives matter is being funded through private and PUBLIC donations true but “MANUFACTURED” to me is a harsh word. Black people in America wouldn’t have the few rights they have today if it wasn’t for originations like the Civil Rights movement and now Black Lives Matter which cost MONEY. I think Beyoncés performance was more than a ‘SHOW’ it was a political statement. Beyoncé could have easily chose to do another performance, why this?

  3. bamabrasileira
    March 4, 2016

    @Gatas – Ok I can see your point as it pertains to your perspective. I just worry that when we focus intently on the discovery of the “truth”, we often miss it! Sometimes, the apple that you see is only an apple. Other times, it is really a tomato that appears to be an apple. I agree that discernment is key, but to what end?

    What I see more often than not is a complete denial/discreditation of Blacks who do not represent the lowest common human denominator. If there are neighborhoods and cities full of us (Blacks who are doing ok in life), we are just supposed to go somewhere and tell ourselves that we are the “lucky few”, but that we don’t really matter and that we barely even exist! If you are an educated Black or a Black with a bit of money, you somehow do not factor into “ultimate Blackness”, unless you are willing to give it all away. And if you are NOT willing to give it all away for what is , essentially, a lost cause (the cause of establishing equality in all parts of the world and overturning the last few hundred years, virtually overnight, and WITHOUT active participation from those you are supposed to be single-handedly lifting up), then you are what? A sellout? What IS a sellout anyway? Is a sellout anyone who wants wealth and success and learns the game and plays it well?

    The game of life has been there since the beginning of time and it is a ubiquitous presence all around the globe. I’d say that Black people must become better at playing it (and we are even as I type this!) Painting Black people as the underdogs of life who just didn’t get a fair shot is disingenuous, to say the least. To truly believe this, we would have to lie to ourselves and pretend that the leaders of African nations are NOT a bunch of greedy, petty tyrants who just don’t give a f*ck about the people who live in all those nations. We would have to believe that those rich Black Africans who got rich off of selling the soul of Africa to the highest bidder (currently the Chinese) are somehow faultless in the grander scheme of life itself. Sure, we could pretend that all those leaders are greedy, petty tyrants because of white supremacy would have been angelic princes and princesses if the white people had just left them all alone…but we know that this is a fantasy we tell ourselves.

    At what point do we support the positive efforts of other Blacks – light and dark, rich and poor? I guess it just seems too easy to discount the efforts of another person and call them a failure because they could not single-handedly do the impossible or be a martyr for “the cause” AND they have the audacity to be successful in some way! While I respect some of the things Malcolm X said, I am NOT trying to see any more Black martyrs. I would rather see President Obama live to an old age than to see him die in office because he is expected to fix racism all by himself and publiclly denounce every wrong that is done against Black people AND sign an executive order to give all of us reparations for slavery while he’s at it (always gotta laugh at this at least a little, as many Black people think that President Obama is president
    of a high school rather than the most powerful country on the planet, whose government is full of judicial checks and balances that were put there to prevent America from ever becoming a totalitarian hellhole like Venezuela, China, most of Africa and the Middle East…..but I digress…)!

    I still maintain that, more than anything, Black people have to learn how to play the game and that, becoming successful and dialoguing with non-Blacks does not make one a sellout. It makes them smart. Nature abhors a vaccuum. Black homogeneity, self imposed poverty, and militancy -though a tempting quick fix- are definitely not the answer!They have already been proven to be “not the answer”.

    In any case, I hope that you will continue to peek behind that curtain and tell the world what you continue to discover!

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      March 4, 2016

      Hey again!

      Just a little clarity here. I hope that in some of the points you made here you are insinuating that I am saying/implying these things. Let me address a few things so that there is no misunderstanding of my position.

      “If you are an educated Black or a Black with a bit of money, you somehow do not factor into “ultimate Blackness”, unless you are willing to give it all away. And if you are NOT willing to give it all away for what is, essentially, a lost cause”

      Nope, not saying this at all. As I have agreed that Beyonce’s performance was excellent as a business move. I also never said I expect her to give away all of her fame and fortune. I am simply saying that, according to what I’ve seen, one cannot do both. Beyonce is a great entertainer, period. I don’t really expect much else from her.

      “What IS a sell out anyway? Is a sellout anyone who wants wealth and success and learns the game and plays it well?”

      I won’t go too deep into this because it would be pretty long and I don’t have the time right now. But one definition is knowing the negative consequences of one’s actions and how one as individual will benefit but also knowing it will be detrimental who have similiar origins. In terms of “playing the game”, selling out is part of the process. One either accepts it and earns fame and fortune or turns it down. Paul Moponey’s character in Spike Lee’s ‘Bamboozled’ addressed this as well as Dave Chappelle explaining what went on behind the scenes and why he decided to walk away. When you look behind the curtail, you realize that ‘playing the game’ is a part of selling your soul. It comes with the territory.

      “At what point do we support the positive efforts of other Blacks – light and dark, rich and poor?”

      I DO support, but I also support telling it like it is!

      “I guess it just seems too easy to discount the efforts of another person and call them a failure because they could not single-handedly do the impossible or be a martyr for “the cause” AND they have the audacity to be successful in some way!”

      First, no one can doing anything single-handedly and never in my comments refer to anyone as a failure. I simply attempted to separate Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s performance as entertainment from the idea that she should be judged as the new Marcus Garvey.

      “I am NOT trying to see any more Black martyrs. I would rather see President Obama live to an old age than to see him die in office because he is expected to fix racism all by himself and publiclly denounce every wrong that is done against Black people”

      A whole new can of worms I won’t approach here. I was once sucked in by the Obama hype until, again, I discovered what he is really about and all other presidents are about. Obama was put in place to play his role and that has NOTHING to do with black people, as such, I don’t expect ANYTHING from him. The problem is that most people don’t really know anything about the man. And there’s a reason for that. He is perhaps the BEST example of what I mean what I say ‘image’ versus ‘substance’.

      “to prevent America from ever becoming a totalitarian hellhole like Venezuela, China, most of Africa and the Middle East”

      Pay attention, because that is EXACTLY where America is going!

      “I still maintain that, more than anything, Black people have to learn how to play the game”

      I get that, but I maintain that, most times, ‘playing the game’ well means ‘playing your role’ and ‘not rocking the boat’.

      • bamabrasileira
        March 4, 2016

        Ok Gatas – you are definitely gonna find fault with most successful Black people (those damn sellouts!) and hold the martyred militant Blacks up as the innocent and lost souls…I get it! Also, go hang out in the states for a bit – not just Miami and New York but really ride around America. THEN go visit some Chinese cities that are NOT Shanghai or Hong Kong, go to…well…ANYWHERE in Venezuela, go hang out in Syria (it’s gonna take you a minute, but I’ll give you the time!)…While it’s nice to say that America is one step away from devolving into complete chaos (rhetoric that has been spewed since I was a kid, and I am in my mid thirties now), I always gotta chuckle a bit when I hear this. People who truly think this probably read sensationalized news ABOUT America rather than going there and hang out for a bit. If they are Black Americans, they are most likely either poor Blacks who have chosen to stay in the ghetto (and to be clear, American Blacks do have a choice in this matter) OR “militant” Blacks who are quietly making bank with a platform of constantly spewing a message of Black victimization. To use your rhetorical style, MANY of the Black Militants that you love so much are using your fear and subsequent anger at what you discover (i.e., what they tell you) to quietly make money off of you! Period. If you do not know this by now….well…it doesn’t matter, because at least you are educating yourself. Keep buying those books, and attending those paid lectures, and clicking on that content, because I actually do not mind them making money from disseminating information they may or may not truly believe! It at least gets one to thinking.

        Also, yeah…as I keep saying, Beyonce definitely rocked the mythical boat that you keep talking about…Period. However, again, as someone who does not necessarily understand the finer nuances of American society, I could see how you might not fully understand what she has done. I would liken it to my own lack of understanding about much of what happens in Brazil (like how many of the people insist that politicians quit being corrupt when they themselves practice low level corruption daily)!

        Out of curiosity, what do you consider “rocking the boat”? Because it sure seems like BLM and the CRM did and continue to rock the boat! Do you understand that systemic change often takes a LOT of time because minds have to change and laws must change, and THEN it must be sustained somehow? Do you understand that the Black masses (not just the guy with the microphone) must actively participate if they expect change to actually trickle down to them?

        Obama also has rocked the boat and continues to rock the boat! That’s why we are discussing him now! But again, many Blacks are unclear about what his role as president of the United States should entail. I always gotta laugh a little also about the “Obama has done nothing and has no power” rhetoric. Again, one would really need to first understand how American government works, what is a president’s job, and how politics in general works. They would then need to read about the challenges that the first Black American president has faced that are unique only to him (like unprecedented obstructionism and having his life threatened on a daily basis at a level that excedes any other president). Again, anyone who expected Obama to be a Black Santa clause (which is strongly implied any time I read anti-Obama rhetoric), or who wanted Obama to invite them to the White House so they could just kick it together (aka Cornell West and Tavis Smiley), perhaps, had unrealistic expectations.

        Out of curiosity, what should Obama have given to or done for Black people?

        Also, it kinda does seem like you expect successful Blacks to single-handedly cause wide reaching change because of your rhetoric that follows the pattern of:
        PERSON / PEOPLE X) did y or assumed y position….and Nothing has changed! And even if something has changed a bit, it isn’t enough for my liking so, therefore, person X really didn’t do anything for us!” This type of reasoning is heavily implied in your writing, so I am just highlighting it so that you do not come back with “I never said x, y , or z)!” Again, what you believe is implicit in how you write.

        Also, just as I suspected, for you (and many like you) a sellout is basically ANYONE who has fame and money. And these people should never be taken seriously because they are sellouts…got it! I think that this is what you believe because you said this:
        ” But one definition is knowing the negative consequences of one’s actions and how one as individual will benefit but also knowing it will be detrimental who have similiar origins. In terms of “playing the game”, selling out is part of the process. One either accepts it and earns fame and fortune or turns it down. ”

        Out of curiosity is “detrimental to those who have similar origins” just coded language for “that one rich guy didn’t go back to his old neighborhood and lift all those other people in it out of poverty with all that money he has” ?

        “I maintain that, most times, ‘playing the game’ well means ‘playing your role’ and ‘not rocking the boat’.”
        FINALLY! Something we can agree on…kinda! 😀 I am still not sure about what you consider to be “boat rocking”… It seems to mean ” far reaching change” for you. For me it simply means “disrupting a system” – which is why I keep saying that many of the people you accuse of being non-boat rockers actually ARE boat rockers 😀

        The game of life is quite an important one to learn so that you can decide where you fit into it. At some point, one has to ask herself if she wants to be a boat rocker for the sake of rocking the boat, or does she want to have some degree of success in life. In playing the game correctly, she then has the opportunity to implement change just by being who she is in a location that would not usually have such a person in it. Of course, you will not hear about her on the news or read about her in a history book. Could it be that it is because she possesses subtle power that is far reaching, rather brute force, which burns out quickly?

        What we perceive depends mainly on where we are looking! If you are looking for the trouble, you will find it. However, so will you find the solutions and the change that many of us keep insisting hasn’t happened yet!

        As always, EXCELLENT discussion Gatas! Its hard for me to concentrate on my work whenever I get going with you 😀

      • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
        March 6, 2016

        Bama Brasileira:

        I too enjoy a debate, but the things you are writing show me that you have a very mainstream view of how things work, which is how the deception is allowed to continue…

        Once you ‘look under the carpet’ and learn the truth about these matters, your views change. But let’s me address a few of your points again.

        “you are definitely gonna find fault with most successful Black people (those damn sellouts!) and hold the martyred militant Blacks up as the innocent and lost souls…”

        If you prefer to narrow down what I’ve said into this simple summary, so be it. I am simply saying that climbing to certain levels of success you must sell yourself or else the door will not be opened for you. It is the difference between someone like Marcus Garvey who was brought down by the system because of the danger he represented while the Jesse and Al types are promoted in front of the cameras. I could go deeper into that but not right now. The whole thing is a game and it appears that you may not have figured that out yet. I was there once upon a time also…But I’m still learning too! The more I find, the more I learn why most people will never ‘get it’. It is simply too unbelievable! But I understand…

        “Also, go hang out in the states for a bit – not just Miami and New York but really ride around America”

        I don’t know why you would assume that I don’t know the United States. What if I told you I spent many years there and have visited numerous cities and states? Hmmmm…

        “While it’s nice to say that America is one step away from devolving into complete chaos (rhetoric that has been spewed since I was a kid, and I am in my mid thirties now), I always gotta chuckle a bit when I hear this.”

        Most Americans don’t believe the impending collapse of the US either. I can’t fault you for that. But all the signs are there. I have shared my research with many (Brazilians and Americans) who also don’t believe it. That’s fine. You’ll just be another believer when it happens. I won’t get into this here because I don’t feel like writing a dissertation. I will simply explain that traditional history books will never tell us the truth about world events thus people think that unfortunate things just happen. They can’t make the connection between the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the war in Iraq so disbelief is understandable. But every major event in world history has been manufactured and engineered when you have this understanding, the impending collapse of the US is not surprising because you know who is really pulling the strings. But that’s cool. Many people see the world through rose colored glasses and when people deny or brush aside warnings I often let them because I don’t have time unless someone is really willing to analyze the evidence I present and there’s ALOT!

        “Blacks who have chosen to stay in the ghetto (and to be clear, American Blacks do have a choice in this matter)”

        Of course I’ve know that there are those would prefer to stay in the ‘hood but I don’t see this as a majority. This would ignore the systematic oppression that maintains blacks as a permanent underclass as a whole. Again, it appears you are speaking on the individual level. I am speaking of blacks as a whole.

        ““militant” Blacks who are quietly making bank with a platform of constantly spewing a message of Black victimization. To use your rhetorical style, MANY of the Black Militants that you love so much are using your fear and subsequent anger at what you discover (i.e., what they tell you) to quietly make money off of you! Period. If you do not know this by now….well…it doesn’t matter, because at least you are educating yourself.”

        I of course know that there are many frauds and con artists in the game but I have noted that those who truly have info that can ‘rock the boat’ often live hand to mouth after attempting to get off ‘the plantation’. ‘The plantation’ includes the corporate world, academia, multi-billion dollar organizations, banks, etc. And if one earns a living from these institutions, which basically control us all, said person is on ‘the plantation’. So, as I will continue to argue, ‘the game’ is rigged from the start.

        “as I keep saying, Beyonce definitely rocked the mythical boat that you keep talking about…Period”

        Please explain how. Tell me what Beyonce accomplished because of her Super Bowl appearance? What? People talked it about online? Does that constitute ‘rocking the boat’ for you? Did she take over distribution of her music? Create her own distribution company to distribute the music of black artists worldwide? Did she provoke the Senate to implement laws to protect black Americans from predatory lending practices? Just curious. How did she ‘rock the boat’?

        “as someone who does not necessarily understand the finer nuances of American society, I could see how you might not fully understand what she has done”

        Again, an assumption as you don’t really know this.

        “Because it sure seems like BLM and the CRM did and continue to rock the boat!”

        How? Tell me something. Do you know who funded both movements? Whoever funds movements, also directs them. Your answer will tell me alot…

        “Do you understand that the Black masses (not just the guy with the microphone) must actively participate if they expect change to actually trickle down to them?”

        Well, the fact is, most social movements are often tools of manipulation created by the very oppressors of the system. History shows us this.

        “Obama also has rocked the boat and continues to rock the boat! That’s why we are discussing him now”

        Again, give me evidence. I’m discussing because he has been one of the most deception images for black people. What has Obama done, first for Americans in general and second by African-Americans besides providing the image of a black family in the White House? Obama is a pawn; a puppet who simply follows the orders he is given. He is but the latest link in a long line of American presidents who are pushing the US toward loss of its sovereignty. Example. Has US debt increased or maintained itself under Obama? Has American intervention in foreign countries ended, as Obama promised? Has the economic crisis ended? Have Americans gained more rights under Obama or lost more?

        “But again, many Blacks are unclear about what his role as president of the United States should entail. I always gotta laugh a little also about the “Obama has done nothing and has no power” rhetoric.”

        Actually, I’m quite clear of what his role is, which is why I’m trying to point this out to you. The points you make actually show that you in fact don’t know the reality of politics and influences that control American presidents.

        “Again, one would really need to first understand how American government works, what is a president’s job, and how politics in general works.”

        Well, I’m trying to explain this to you, but I believe you have a very mainstream view of how these areas actually work. I did once upon a time also. But all of the rhetoric, in general, is a sham, for what’s on paper and what actually happens are completely different.

        “anyone who expected Obama to be a Black Santa clause…”

        After I learned the truth about the gov’t, I don’t expect this from any president. I know who their masters are and they do NOT work for the interest of the people.

        “Out of curiosity, what should Obama have given to or done for Black people?”

        As I’ve written, I expect nothing from Obama

        “your rhetoric that follows the pattern of: PERSON / PEOPLE X) did y or assumed y position….and Nothing has changed!”

        Interesting you would use the word ‘CHANGE’ for that is the very word Obama used to get to White House, but he has in fact changed nothing but lead Americans further down the road to enslavement.

        “Out of curiosity is “detrimental to those who have similar origins” just coded language for “that one rich guy didn’t go back to his old neighborhood and lift all those other people in it out of poverty with all that money he has”?”

        Again, I don’t expect that. One either plays the game and they don’t. The game is rigged from the start. When you analyze the people who have been killed over the years for trying to ‘rock the boat’ (or threatened with death) you understand that the rich make their choices and I won’t blame them for that. But I will speak of their choices when people attempt to credit them for things they haven’t done.

        “For me it simply means ‘disrupting a system'”

        OK, but again, give me examples of how people like Obama and Beyonce have disrupted the system. I will show you concretely that Obama is in fact the opposite of what you think he is.

        “At some point, one has to ask herself if she wants to be a boat rocker for the sake of rocking the boat, or does she want to have some degree of success in life.”

        I agree. This is my very point because the game is rigged from the start.

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2016 by in Afro Brazilians, black women, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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