Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

Still a slave in 2016! Why are Brazil’s top two TV networks both airing series based in the slavery era?


capa

Note from BW of Brazil: The objective that led to the creation of this blog was always to present to an English-speaking audience interesting material about black Brazilians, specifically black women and from the perspective of race. There have long been misunderstandings about the subject outside of Brazil, perpetuated by long held myths often promoted by Brazilian elites and common, everyday people that presented, and continue to present the country as a place that doesn’t have serious racial problems that need to be addressed. And as the blog is written in English, half of the readers of this blog and a large percentage of the comments posted come from the United States, that other large nation in the Americas with a long history of slavery and racial inequality. As a result, the information we bring on this blog is often understood from a more diasporic perspective as people will naturally make comparisons between the Brazilian experience and that of the country in which they reside. Over the course of this blog’s existence, a number of well-known figures (mostly from the US) have been discussed in the context of some controversy, performance or statement that said person made and how the figure or occurrence was interpreted or the repercussions it had in Brazil.

Today we present a good example of this.

Last week, the popular American rapper Snoop Dogg created a buzz in social networks when he advised his followers not to tune in to the recent remake of the 1977 American television miniseries Roots, that portrayed a fictitious journey into the family history African-American author Alex Haley set in era of the US experiment with the institution of slavery. Lambasting the remake, the “Doggfather” said he couldn’t watch it and was fed up with seeing America’s media portraying the brutality that black Americans endured during this tragic era in history. Rejecting Roots along with the film 12 Years A Slave, the rapper, born as Calvin Broadus, encourages black people to start creating their own productions (1) and show some of the success that African-Americans are having. The rapper/actor’s recent comments could just as well have been applied to the situation in Brazil and, considering the fact that Brazil’s two most popular television networks, Rede Globo and Rede Record, are both featuring series based during Brazil’s slavery era, his comments on black representation in the media, which is a major topic of this blog, couldn’t be more timely.

In Brazil today, millions of persons of African descent live under an oppressive system of psychological slavery in which all-things white are to be adored and all things black to be disregarded. We see this ideology play out regularly in the media that constantly promotes the idea of white beauty, an education system in which culture and history are presented from a Eurocentric perspective and an ongoing problem of racial identity in which millions of persons who are seen or treated as black attempt to escape this racial classification either by simply denying that they are black, submerging themselves in whiteness in social settings or encouraging their offspring to marry and reproduce with persons who are considered white. In this manner, in their eyes, they can distance themselves from the pain and difficulty of being associated with African peoples, a group in which Brazil as a whole continues to reject as we have seen time and again from the manner in which immigrants are treated. Quite frankly, with such widespread racist insults and jokes, daily experiences with racism, invisibility and negative stereotypes, who would want to be black?

capa 2

Record TV’s ‘Escrava Mãe’, Globo TV’s ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

As a previous post showed, Brazil’s media has long had an obsession with slavery-era productions. And here it is in 2016, 128 years after the end of slavery, and Record TV and Globo TV are simultaneously broadcasting series (Escrava Mãe on Record and Liberdade Liberdade on Globo) based in the slavery era. While there are those black actors who actually celebrate slave era series going into production (as there will a huge need for black actors) and we cannot blame these actors who need the work and have bills to pay, there comes a time when we must ask these questions: How much longer must we accept these images? What are the psychological effects of such images on a population that already suffers from a lack of representation and an identity complex?

Protagonist of ‘Escrava Mãe’, Gabriela Moreyra criticizes stigmatized roles for black actors

By Bianca Soares

Gabriela Moreyra

Gabriela Moreyra stars in ‘Escrava Mãe’

Gabriela Moreyra, 27, will play her first protagonist in Escrava Mãe, which opens on the Record TV network on Tuesday (31). In the Gustavo Reys serial directed by Ivan Zettel, she will play Juliana, mother of the slave Isaura.

novela1

For the actress, releasing the novela (soap opera) with all finalized chapters is not a burden. “It might network [to change it throughout over the plot], but I prefer to see it more simply: It’s already done, ready,” she says.

1

Record TV’s ‘Escrava Mãe’

In principle, Escrava Mãe would replace Os Dez Mandamentos (The Ten Commandments) in 2015, but it was postponed four times for commercial reasons, as stated artistic vice president and producer of Record Marcelo Silva.

2

Record TV’s ‘Escrava Mãe’

Gabriela says that ending of the scenes of violence she needed “to disconnect from everything to recover.” She, who considers herself black but does not want to “wave any flags,” says she wondered what her family would have experienced in the same situation in the past.

Cena de estupro foi feita com o máximo de cuidado para não chocar

Scene depicting rape of Luena (Nayara Justino) in the Record TV novela

The actress echoes the demands of greater black representation in television drama. “People need to understand that black people can be doctors, [the roles] are very stigmatized. Slowly I think this is changing. It has to change.”

Me-Diz_Escrava-Mae_250516-920x510

‘Escrava Mãe’ of Rede Record network

Escrava Mãe is the seventh novela of Gabriela, who debuted on Record in 2006 with Bicho do Mato.

hard_helosa-jorge_dr-620x535

Scene from Globo TV’s ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

Actors of Liberdade want more blacks on stage and behind the scenes

By João Miguel Júnior

David Junior e Heloisa Jorge em Liberdade, liberdade

Actors David Jr. and Jorge Heloisa during the recordings of ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

All six black actors cast in Liberdade Liberdade (Freedom, Freedom) have interpreted roles of slaves or servants in other TV productions. None of them portrayed to judges, farmers or teachers. None was protagonist of a Brazilian novela. On Friday (May 13), the 128th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, blacks are still an absolute minority on television, although the majority of the Brazilian population. The main Globo novelas have 29 black actors, but only three interpret characters with higher education. The professionals who suffer racism in the plot and in real life, complain that there’s a lack of representation and stereotypes are leftover in national television drama.

Dionísia (Maitê Proença) não tem pena de Saviano (David Júnior)

Scene from ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

In the 11 o’clock Globo TV novela, the history of Brazilian black is told more broadly than the standard of productions of the era. In the plot, which takes place in 1808, there is a slave who maintains frequent sexual relations with his white female master, a black woman that was raised as a sister of a white girl and a freed black serving as a colonel of the Portuguese infantry.

Dionísia faz de Saviano um escravo sexual

In ‘Liberdade Liberdade’, the character Saviano is the sexual slave of his master Dionísia (2).

For the actor Bukassa Kabengele, 43, who plays the military colonel, the plot of the 11 o’clock novela differentiates itself by escaping the clichés about slaves and displaying scenes that have never been to the fore in other productions. But even so, he thinks blacks need more space in prime time.

“If we are talking about a public that today is certainly real, consumes and is part of the audience, I think there should be a relationship of more presence, evidence and number on TV. It gives the impression that [the situation] has changed and it’s changed indeed, but the [black] population is immense, so the proportionality still leaves (much) to be desired,” he says.

Liberdade, Liberdade - A herdeira de Tiradentes que revolucionou o Brasil

Globo TVs ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

According to the last census, 43.1% of the population considers itself parda (brown/mixed) and 7.6% declares itself preta (black). Between pardos and pretos, there would be 97 million negros (blacks), which would make them the majority of the population, since the count is from 2010, when Brazil had 190.7 million inhabitants.

A slave for the third time

David Jr., 30, Saviano in Liberdade Liberdade, is plays the role of a slave for the third time in his career (3). The others were in the series A Cura (Globo, 2010) and in one theater piece. He has also given life to a security guard in Geração Brasil (2014) and an outlaw called Meio-Noite (meaning midnight) in Cordel Encantado (2011). Now, he is a double slave, he provides sexual services required to his boss, Dionísia (Maitê Proenca). Olívia Araújo, the slave Celeste, played the role of a maid in her last three novelas. Lucy Ramos, who is the slave extortionist Malena, has also been a maidservant in the second version of Sinhá Moça (2006). The exception was the psychologist victim of racism that she played in I Love Paraisópolis (2015).

Lucy Ramos em cena como Malena, escrava que chantageia sua patroa, Branca

Actress Lucy Ramos in ‘Liberdade Liberdade’

The three are some examples of how most black professionals are still cast as characters of low economic level and that play social dramas. “Lack of representation, yes. There is, but there needs to be more. The more references on TV, the better for people to accept themselves, to assume themselves, understand their identities and understand that there is more than one type of black [physically]. You have to put blacks in all positions. There has to be a doctor, lawyer, not only the cleaning lady, the cook,” argues Lucy Ramos.

Among the four major novelas on the air on Globo currently (Eta Mundo Bom!, Totalmente Demais, Velho Chico and Liberdade, Liberdade), only 29 actors of the main casts are black. Of these, only three interpret characters who work in professions requiring higher education.

Through its press office, Globo states that “doesn’t target its cast by ethnicity, social class, sex or religion. The cast is cast according to the artistic compatibility of the character and adequacy to the story.”

Fight against racism

Actress Heloisa Jorge, who plays slave Luanda in Liberdade, Liberdade, is Angolan and has already been protagonist of a novela in her country. She believes that although racism is a part of Brazilian society and has an impact in several areas (political, social, economic and artistic), black people are also positioning themselves against it.

“The struggle of the movimento negro (black movement) and the prevailing laws of reparation here in Brazil have been mapping a path of no return. Representativeness matters and is far from being a joke,” she says.

David Jr. has received different treatment for being black and thinks that the change in the arts should happen more widely. “In the United States, the professionals, without distinction of ethnicity, produce themselves, direct themselves, I think it’s cool. Not that there’s no lack of space, but I think that also this lacks more,” he opines.

Actor Bukassa Kabengele in a scene as the character Omar in Liberdade, Liberdade

Power behind the scenes

There is among the actors the view that if more directors, writers, producers and professionals behind the scenes were black, the situation would be different. “There are no black authors who fight for these issues [of ethnicity], we don’t know why they go by or not. But I think if there were more blacks holding positions in which they decide what will be done and what the profiles are that will be placed on the agenda, the chances [of having more black representation on TV] increase,” says Kabengele.

Among the main authors of the Globo novelas, none is black. Xica da Silva (Headline, 1996), written by Walcyr Carrasco, was the first drama to have a black protagonist, Taís Araújo, who later played the first black protagonist in a Globo novela (Da Cor do Pecado, of João Emanuel Carneiro, shown in 2004). Today, she and Lázaro Ramos are the main characters of the series Mister Brau.

“TV Globo is what has the most tele-dramaturgy products, is far ahead, and so it has opened more doors. But I don’t say that it’s enough to contemplate the Brazilian population. The fact is that the number [of black professionals in TV] is still below what Brazil deserves as history and as reality,” he adds.

Source: Folha PE, Foros

Note

  1. An idea that Afro-Brazilians have taken to heart with a growing array of independent theater and video productions being presented on stages as well as media outlets such You Tube.
  2. In this depiction, we see a continuation of the exploitation of the black male who can be enjoyed and discarded after his perceived hypersexualized performance has surpassed his usefulness.
  3. A situation that actress Solange Couto can relate to. After years appearing in supporting roles, Couto realized that she had portrayed a maid 25 times in her career.

23 comments on “Still a slave in 2016! Why are Brazil’s top two TV networks both airing series based in the slavery era?

  1. Ian
    June 8, 2016

    Please continue the struggle and liberation with your sharing of vital information and also making us aware of the experiences our brothers and sisters are enduring in Brazil.

  2. Mike
    June 8, 2016

    SMH. This article proves that like America, Brazil has to maintain a submissive degraded image of Black people. I don’t blame the Black actors at all for taking these types of roles. It’s the only way they can find work and make money doing what they love doing. But on the other hand i will say that these Black actors need to break the cycle and put together some images and media and that
    have NOTHING to do with slavery. More web series, and more Black Brazilian
    stage productions would be nice start since i know Black Brazilians artist don’t
    have the financial means to do major productions.

    To be honest i think most novelas and movies with White Brazilians are wack anyway. My favorite Brazilian films ever have unsurprisingly had either all black or partially black actors. Films like City of God, Elite Squad 1 and 2, Black Orpheus.
    I’ve also heard that Sons of Carnaval was a very good show that had great Black
    characters with depth, even though i haven’t seen it yet.

    It’s pathetic how the White Brazilian media is so obsessed with maintaining
    White Supremacy that they’re willing to ignore and deny very talented Black actors/actresses of their chance to shine.

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      June 8, 2016

      You’re absolutely right, Mike! This is the precise point of ALL of the articles posted about the media on this blog! The fact is of course obvious, but we are seeing some very interesting independent productions, such as those that we see on YouTube. The talent is there. What is lacking is the investment…

  3. Wayne Gio
    June 8, 2016

    Brazil is a multiracial nation like USA. Around 50% are whites, 42.3% are mixed (white+black, white+amerindian, white+asiatic, other multi ethnic), 7.4% are blacks and 0.8% are Asiatic and Amerindians.

    Racist people who don’t like blacks and hate Brazil, trying to “demoralize” us saying about the large black population (as if to be black would be a disease and the idiot racists would the only ones health for not being blacks), but, they are two times stupid because they: (1) Consider themselves as a superior race and black inferior; and (2) forget the other large ethnic groups in Brazil. I’m tired of these racist idiots.

    Yes, Brazil is the largest black nation outside Africa (and what’s the problem about it?), but, Brazilian people is a sum of more than 50 nationalities.

    Brazil is the largest Portuguese nation (32 million of descendants), largest Italian nation outside Italy (25 million of descendants), second largest German population outside Germany (18 million), largest Arab nation outside MIddle East (15 million of descendants), largest Japanese population outside Japan (1.8 million) and we have millions of European descendants from Spain (15 million), 5 million of Slavic (2 million from Poland, 1 million from Ukraine, 300,000 from Russia, 250,000 from Hungary and the rest from Croatia, Czech Republic, Belarus and LIthuania, among others) and 3.5 million of descendants of Dutch.

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      June 8, 2016

      Dear Wayne.

      I’m going to respectfully ask you to give up. At times, you DO sound a bit schizophrenic. How do write that “Yes, Brazil is the largest black nation outside Africa” but on ALL of your other comments you scream and scream about Brazil’s black population being only 8%?

      PLEASE do us all a favor and let it go!

    • Morgan
      August 14, 2016

      Wayne,

      Ugh. Just no. You are literally why this blog is needed. Your dismissal of the black Brazilians by foisting the multiethnic Brazil on us is ridiculous.

  4. Wayne Gio
    June 8, 2016

    in southern brazil during 1820 to 1930 brazil was a popular country for europeans to immigrate from 1820 to 1930 brazil recieved more than 5 to 7 millions and millions of european immigrants many came from germany , poland , spain , portugal , italy and ukraine the number of europeans who came to brazil outnumbered the the number of slaves brought into brazil which was a total of 4 million europeans outnumbered blacks due to european immigration from 1820 to 1930

    • Mike
      June 8, 2016

      Wayne Gio give it up dude. You’re a White Supremacist. Everytime there is a new post on this site, you come on here and put Wikipedia stats and videos of how White of a country Brazil is. We get it. Brazil has White people. Whats your point?

      The purpose of this blog is to inform people about culture of Black Brazilians and the social, economic, political and psychological climate of Black Brazilians and the struggles they face. If i want a history lesson on White Brazilians i’ll go to Wikipedia and YouTube like you. But i don’t want a history on White Brazilians because it doesn’t interest me. And it’s nowhere near as interesting as the history of Black Brazilians. Black people BUILT Brazil and made it into the tourist attraction that it is today. When foreigners go to Brazil for vacation they really got to see BLACK PEOPLE not Whites. They go to see beautiful Black women dance at Carnaval. They go to see Capoeira, an AFRICAN artform not a European one. Pele, a Black man, is one of the most legendary soccer players in the world. As is Neymar. How many White legendary Brazilian soccer players can you name? None.

      Black Brazilians have been helping to sell the image of Brazil for decades and the ungrateful White Supremacist Brazilian media has never given any thanks to Black Brazilians for this.

      • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
        June 8, 2016

        Mike: You know it’s absurd when other readers get annoyed with a certain person making the same redundant comments. I’m really getting to the point where it’s time to ban “Wayne Gio”. I’ve made the same points as you. Why doesn’t he just create a blog called “White people of Brazil”? I wouldn’t have a problem with that and I’m sure other readers of this blog wouldn’t give a damn either!

    • Mike
      June 8, 2016

      Wayne Gio give it up dude. You’re a White Supremacist. Everytime there is a new post on this site, you come on here and put Wikipedia stats and videos of how White of a country Brazil is. We get it. Brazil has White people. Whats your point?

      The purpose of this blog is to inform people about culture of Black Brazilians and the social, economic, political and psychological climate of Black Brazilians and the struggles they face. If i want a history lesson on White Brazilians i’ll go to Wikipedia and YouTube like you. But i don’t want a history on White Brazilians because it doesn’t interest me. And it’s nowhere near as interesting as the history of Black Brazilians. Black people BUILT Brazil and made it into the tourist attraction that it is today. When foreigners go to Brazil for vacation they really got to see BLACK PEOPLE not Whites. They go to see beautiful Black women dance at Carnaval. They go to see Capoeira, an AFRICAN artform not a European one. Pele, a Black man, is one of the most legendary soccer players in the world. As is Neymar. How many White legendary Brazilian soccer players can you name? None.

      Black Brazilians have been helping to sell the image of Brazil for decades and the ungrateful White Supremacist Brazilian media has never given any thanks to Black Brazilians for this.

      • Wayne Gio
        June 8, 2016

        JUST LIKE THE NBA AND NFL MOST PLAYERS ARE BLACK SAME THING HAPPENS IN BRAZIL BLACKS EXCEL MORE THAN WHITES IN SPORTS

        MIKE YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE WHERE NO WHITE BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS I THINK YOU ARE WRONG THERE IS HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF WHITE BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS IN BRAZIL LOOK AT THE LIST BELOW ALSO PELE WAS LEGENDARY ALSO ZICO WAS A LEGENDARY WHITE BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYER AS WELL

        WHITE BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS :

        1. lucas leiva

        2. rafinha bayern

        3. neuton piccoli

        4. nathan de souza

        5. rafael forster

        6. bressan gremio

        7. neto brazil

        8. rodrigo ely

        9. marcelo hermes

        10. moisés wolschick

        11. felipe luis

        12. Douglas Friedrich

        13. Luan José Niedzielski

        14. Ramiro Benetti

        15. Gabriel Blos

      • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
        June 8, 2016

        Previous comment: “OK I WILL STOP POSTING”.

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      June 8, 2016

      Same stats. Same points. Please retire!

  5. Wayne Gio
    June 8, 2016

    OK I WILL STOP POSTING SORRY I JUST FELT THAT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO POST THIS I WONT POST ANYMORE ANYWAYS I’M NOT A WHITE SUPREMACIST I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE I HAVE ALLOT OF BLACK FRIENDS HERE IN ATLANTA

    I’M EVEN A SUPPORTER OF THE BLACK LIVES MATTER EVENTS HERE IN THE STATES

    • PTR
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks a lot for your support. I am particularly grateful for pointing out these great white famous Brazilian players I had never heard about. And thanks also for not posting anymore, I have migraines every time an internet troll writes full sentences in capital letters (I don’t mean you of course, I’m talking about people who happen to do this often).

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      June 8, 2016

      “OK I WILL STOP POSTING” Really? I’ve heard this before! “I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE I HAVE ALLOT OF BLACK FRIENDS HERE IN ATLANTA”??? Really? Please let it go!

    • Morgan
      August 14, 2016

      Wayne, you’re awful. All your posts are about white Brazilians, entirely ignoring black Brazilians and their struggle–you know, the purpose of this blog.

      Also, it’s great that you support BLM in the U.S. Do you show in their online forums to speak about only the contributions of white people to the Civil Rights movement? Do you attend meeting of BLM activists and try to speak over black leaders in an attempt to show how much more superior your ideas are?

      You are a man coming to a site about black women but show zero respect for them.

  6. PTR
    June 8, 2016

    I would be a bit more OK with this slave novelas if they were at least historically accurate. Most if these stories are pure fiction that exist only in the imaginary of the white population that still believes blacks were submissive humans who docility accepted their fate, whereas in reality they fought, run and killed until the end. I’m not a novela fan, but is there any about Zumbi? I think not. Also, if they would also be accompanied by a demand for reparation, as Jews do with the holocaust, this would at least serve some purpose, but seems people see no connection between the two, which is rather baffling.

  7. PTR
    June 8, 2016

    @Gatas

    “But PTR, Wayne DOES do this often!”

    Yeah…any sarcasm on my part is purely accidental… 🙂

  8. Vonetta Lampkin
    June 8, 2016

    @ Gatas – Sorry to hijack your thread. This is a damning report on violence against Black youth in Brazil that was picked up by American media that you might be interested in. But I am not sure how much circulation it is getting in Brazil (or it could just be old news):
    http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/06/08/undeclared-civil-war-black-youths-under-threat-of-genocide-in-brazil-1-killed-every-23-minutes-per-report/

    • gatasnegrasbrasileiras
      June 9, 2016

      Thank you the link! Will be checking it out! It’s great that another black-oriented English language is discussing the genocide of black Brazilian youth! We have a number of articles here that discuss the topic. It should be international news!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: