Documentary on racism and empowerment of black women will be released this Wednesday in Campos, RJ
‘Cores Pretas’, a documentary about racism and empowerment of black women being released on July 25th, the International Day
Film to have official release in Rio at the Museu Histórico de Campos museum
The Black Women of Brazil blog emerged because of a rising movement of black Brazilian women has been gaining steam over the past few decades and since the arrival of the age of social networking/media, this organization for the empowerment of black women has exploded. Empowerment is a term that mulheres negras, black women, have used endlessly in the pursuit of some semblance of power that has eluded this parcel of the population for nearly five centuries.
Empowerment is the focus of a new documentary to be released in the city of Campos dos Goytacazes, a municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro with a population of about a half a million inhabitants. Entitled Cores Pretas, meaning ‘black colors’, the film is to be released today, July 25th, the International Day of the Latin American and Caribbean Black Women.
Directed by journalist Stella Tó Freitas, the film focuses on the perspectives of five black women who discuss their experiences coping with racism from childhood to their experiences as women.
“Much more than a film that conceptualizes racism, Cores Pretas shows how these women feel that skin tone is qualitative in our racist society. From that point on, they tell how racism has transformed them and how they have redefined themselves in this process,” said Freitas.
The topic of colorism has been a very popular theme among Afro-Brazilians in recent years and the consequences can be devastating on the self–esteem of African-descendants who live in a society in which skin color can factor very heavily on how one is perceived in a country based on a European standard of beauty. Beyond the concept of race and its fluid conceptions in a country such as Brazil, skin color can influence everything from one’s ability to attain employment to women being able to secure a long-lasting relationship. The comments of the women in the film demonstrate how prejudice manifests and how it plays out in everyday interactions.
“The more melanin, the more severe the forms of racism, but this only modifies the kind of racism suffered by those who are black and not retinto (very dark skinned),” said the director.
This is a theme that many black people can no doubt identify with. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, there is often a difference in the experiences of black people who are deemed black, as in being a part of the black race, and those who are defined as BLACK, as in being very dark-skinned.
Freitas hopes her film will define how racism can modify itself but still bring clarity to the topic of how it plays out depending on the various skin tones one encounters within the black community. Imagine this in a Brazil that basically leaves its table scraps to its black population and then those scraps are further divided up among black people depending on their proximity to or distance from the European standard. Often times, the understanding of the dynamics of racism and colorism play an important role in how black subjects see themselves and the development of various stances in a color struck world that can eventually lead to self-affirmation and then empowerment.
“The idea of the documentary came about because I, as a journalist, felt the need to explain how a black woman’s life is in practice, how the nuances of racism work, and how it transforms that woman’s life. This record could not begin with any place other than Campos. In addition to an indescribable passion I have for the city, we Campistas (residents of the city) are still lacking the understanding that Campos breathes black culture.”
The film will be open for public viewing and will accept donations of sanitary napkins that will be passed on to women serving time at the Presídio Feminino Nilza da Silva Santos (Nilza da Silva Santos Women’s Prison) in Campos.