Note from BW of Brazil: Well I must admit that this comes as quite a pleasant surprise! As frequent readers may know, over the past few years there has been quite a bit of mud slinging in the Afro-Brazilian community on the topic of interracial relationships and the subsequent high rates of the “solitude of black women”. Although black women have been quite vocal in their accusations that Afro-Brazilian men consistently pass them over in pursuit of long-term relationships with white women, others have pointed out that this accusation could equally apply to black women.
For my part, I believe the time has come for black Brazilians to be able to discuss what nearly 500 years of Brazilian racism has done to relationships between black men and women. It is a well-known fact that Brazilian elites, as early as the late 19th century came up an idea to destroy the black population through the promotion of interracial unions and while one cannot prove that the high rate of these relationships is due to this policy, we also cannot rule out its influence. In conversation and in social networking sites, numerous black Brazilians have admitted how their own families have often encouraged them to seek relationships with white partners for a variety of reasons. We have also seen that even black leadership played a role in the promotion of such unions.
Add this to the fact that, in the media, it is much easier to find a white couple or an interracial couple rather than one featuring a black man and black woman (also see here) and we see that this project for a whiter Brazil is an ongoing project. The Afrodengo group has now grown to 27,000 members and it’s a necessary endeavor. As much as we see all sorts of other relationships being promoted, black people need to know that in an environment that seeks the decimation of black people, black love is a revolutionary act!
“A revolution of black love”: AfroDengo a social network for black people to meet, flirt and initiate relationships finds success online
Courtesy of Correio Nagô and Mais Goiás
When journalist and entrepreneur Lorena Ifé decided to set up a Facebook group to bring together black people interested in flirting with each other, she had no idea that in less than a week there would be more than 500 requests to approve.
“I’ve always questioned the Tinder application because I find few pessoas negras (black people). In addition, a group of black people – that I am part of – made a post that contained the phrase ‘Afrotinder, momento paquera’ (afrotinder, flirting time)’. When I created this other group, I was surprised because I didn’t expect that there were so many (people) wanting to be part of it, but at the same time happy to see this amor preto (black love) chain growing,” reveals Lorena Ifê.
Lorena says she was inspired by the idea of another group and was impressed by the repercussion, coming to 10,000 requests in just one week: “On Facebook, I am part of a Carnival group from Rio de Janeiro created by Thayna Trindade and in it she released the post “Afrotinder, time for flirting” and people began to post their photos. Inspired by this idea, I decided to create a space in the social network Facebook only for flirting with black people from all over Brazil.”
This (lack of black people) is even more so in Salvador, the city with the largest black population outside of Africa. “I saw that it was not just a complaint of mine, but of people I live with, including men reporting the same issue regarding the profile of black women,” she says.
“When I created Afrodengo, I did not know it was going to resonate so much. The number of requests only increases and so does the work. But I’m really happy. It’s this revolução de amor preto (revolution of black love) that I wanted to provoke,” she wrote on her personal Facebook page.
Afrodengo is described as “a virtual flirtation group created for black people and aims to be a space for interaction, flirting, construction of healthy relationships, casual outings with the aim of strengthening black affectivity (so shaken in the post-abolition period). It is also a space to talk about the importance of love for the black population and all its nuances.”
According to the businesswoman, the group has members from all over Brazil, but mainly from Bahia and the states of the Southeast region. In addition, some African citizens residing in the country are also a part.
Nowadays, she says she gets about 20 messages, mostly requests to enter Afrodengo every day. In her profile, she commented on how the group serves at the same time as a space for debate, outreach and training, a safe haven for Afro-descendant issues in Brazil: “It makes me happy to know that it has been a channel for venting also, people have shared their pain, questioning and thoughts about black affectivity. It’s having a lot of flirting, you see! I don’t know if I administer or flirt too,” she said.
Lorena adds, with exclusivity to Portal Correio Nagô, that the proposal is to transform the idea into a mobile application. “I had not even thought of an app, but people in the group suggested it. I will have a meeting with people that I invited to be administrators and we will talk about, but the idea is to become an app,” she says.
She said that she hoped the group would end up flowing over into with matters other than amorous relationships: “The group is a space for flirting, but as we are mind, body and ideologies, it is clear that these issues have already arisen. Discussions on the affectivity of the black woman, interracial relations based on the masculine premise, the hyper-sexualization of the bodies of black women and also the black gay and several other issues that permeate our affectivity. The group has become a space of venting and also to help in the self-esteem of these people.”
Since nothing is perfect, it’s clear that some negative people have already appeared, criticizing the idea or were generally unpleasant, but Lorraine says, “This will always exist, but I’m more concerned with focusing my energy on good things that the group offers.” Asked about how the group acts at the same time as an educational space, she recalls her own trajectory: “The consciousness about my blackness began 10 years ago when I went through the process of hair transition. Today I have a brand of accessories and a projeto de empoderamento crespo/negro (curly-kinky/black empowerment project) called Encrespando that I also raise as a battle flag to discuss ways of coping with racism.”
Now, Lorena plans to create an application for Afrodengo: “The size of the group has been so great that I, with a team of wonderful friends and friends, are organizing ourselves to construct the Afrodengo visual identity and the application that comes from the same objective of the group and so that pessoas negras have autonomy in flirting.”
The group is prohibited for children under 16 years of age. Among the rules of coexistence is the prohibition of “publication of texts, messages and images that reproduce racism, machismo, homo-lesbo-bi-transphobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance and any other type of oppression.”