Actress Adriana Lessa joins cast of “Sexo e as negas”: Is her character, a business woman, an attempt to address criticisms of the show’s stereotypical portrayals of black women

Actress Adriana Lessa joins the cast of "Sexo e as negas"
Actress Adriana Lessa joins the cast of “Sexo e as negas”

Note from BW of Brazil: In our ongoing coverage of the television series Sexo e as negas, we realize that persons outside of Brazil who don’t subscribe to Globo TV’s international channel have never seen the program before and thus cannot truly judge the show from their own perspective. As such, BW of Brazil seeks to provide analysis of the program, both from behind the scenes and in front of the camera. So far, the series has aired two episodes with another airing tonight. Below is another update and analysis. 

The end of the controversy and the negas

By Jeferson de Sousa

Actresses/characters of "Sexo e as negas"
Actresses/characters of “Sexo e as negas”

The internet has created a strange phenomenon: boycott campaigns are spread across the network making the object of such protest become increasingly popular. Some experts see this as an efficient dissemination strategy. No wonder, many bloggers appeal to the controversy just to earn a little promotion by the offended wing (which is always very active in spreading information). Why would it be different with the TV shows? Certainly this was not the intention of Miguel Falabella in creating Sexo e as negas, but there is no doubt that many people ended up watching the first episode of the series just to see why there were so many screams.

So, behold the vaunted, maligned and very widespread series aired. And what did we see? Let’s go in order:

First, a story starring four black women. Plus the supporting cast and extras, it was the largest number of black actors gathered in a national series in which it wasn’t speaking of the times of slavery in colonial Brazil. I.e. you have “afrodescendentes” (African descendants) being treated as main characters in real life and not just in fiction.

Scene from "Sexo e as negas": Series clearly lives up to its title
Scene from “Sexo e as negas”: Series clearly exploits to its title

The second thing was evident in dealing most in a Falabella style series: suburban people re-affirming their “suburban-ness” in each line as if whoever lived in the periphery would spend all their time reaffirming their condition. This comprehensive reference to social class was a recurring joke in Sai de Baixo and Pé Na Cova.

Third, excessive appeal to sex. Ok, the name of the series is Sexo e as negas, but then you have a scene where the maid has sex with a guy in the aisle of the theater, loses a bracelet, the subject takes the bracelet to her at a party a few hours later…and they have sex again…Unnecessary.

"Sexo e as negas" was inspired by the American series "Sex and the City"
“Sexo e as negas” was inspired by the American series “Sex and the City”

In the synopsis of the series, Falabella made ​​a point of saying that it was a suburban version of Sex and the City. Very well, in the American series each of the four friends had very well defined characteristics: Samantha was the “man-eater”, Charlotte was the uptight one, Miranda the workaholic and Carrie the protagonist/narrator entangled with Mister Big (there’s even a character with that name in the Falabella series).

In Sexo e as negas, Falabella takes the role of Carrie narrating off-screen (unnecessary because it repeats what the public is seeing) and it was not clear who the man-eater was, since they all acted with excessive sexual fury. It does not help to show one of the protagonists reveling in sex in a car to, in the next scene, see her telling her friends that it was terrible.

Sexo e as negas opening theme

If I were to quickly summarize, I would say that the episode started off in a Cidade de Deus (City of God) style, explaining the origin of the Cordovil Favela (slum); it rehearsed Sex and the City but ended up in situations that resembled the forum letters section of the Ele Ela magazine and ended in a kind of Glee video clip.

The series "Glee" and "Ele Ela" magazine
The series “Glee” and “Ele Ela” magazine

On the question of the negas in itself, it would have been enough to mix it up a bit, right? Something more realistic. It could have one or two white friends, the bar owner and the villain of the story could be black or something like that.

Perhaps the protests would diminish, but certainly it would not help to improve a story starting from nothing and going nowhere. I sincerely hope it improves because I’m cheering much for the girls of the cast.

Note from BW of Brazil: In the piece above, Sousa touches upon a few of the issues among several for which protests have denounced the new Globo TV series. After suspicion being raised initially because of the title of the series, with the airing of the first two episodes, the show has proven to fulfill many of the stereotypes about black women and suburban residents that many feared. The series doesn’t really offer anything new toward black female characters in the Brazilian media, specifically Globo TV. Arguably, if one has seen all of the black female characters featured on fictionalized series over the years and rolled them into one and put on TV, Sexo e as negas is what you would get. And while Globo has gone out of its way to promote the show as something positive by calling on its small arsenal of black TV personalities (most having connections to Globo) to co-sign on the show, the protests have not been silenced.

What? News flash! In last week’s episode we saw veteran actress Adriana Lessa join the cast in the second episode in which she interviewed one of the characters for a job opening. The Lessa character was presented as a business woman, a contrast to the lower class origins of the four principal black women characters. Is this Falabella and Globo TV attempting to appease black activists who have repudiated the show or was the Lessa character already written into the cast before the shows debut on the September 16th? There’s no clear way to know although Lessa’s comments seem to suggest that her character was a recent write-in. A coincidence? It’s unclear, but a similar coincidence happened last year when a Globo novela featured 56 characters in which none were black provoked negative sentiments online. Suddenly, a black character was added to the cast. It had to be a coincidence, right? Could be, but I doubt it. 

Adriana Lessa enters Sexo e as negas to break stereotypes

by Daniel Ribeiro and Notas TV

Actress Adriana Lessa joins cast of "Sexo e as negas"
Actress Adriana Lessa joins cast of “Sexo e as negas”

Adriana Lessa, who has been away from Globo TV for nearly 10 years, recently returned to the station for participation in the second episode of Sexo e as negas aired last Tuesday (23), but the actress ended up joining the regular cast series.

In the plot of Miguel Falabella, she plays Madalena, an executive that owns her own business in the area of events appearing in the episode interviewing Tilde (Corina Sabbas) for a job opening.

Adriana Lessa in a scene from "Sexo e as negas"
Adriana Lessa in a scene from “Sexo e as negas”

“I was very excited and curious to know about this product. Very happy to find several colleagues working on it,” said the actress in an interview with GShow, official site of the Rio de Janeiro station.

Adriana, who was directed in theater by Miguel Falabella, 57, and series director Cininha Paula, 55, celebrates the new opportunity to work with friends and praises the story. “It’s nice to see situations that actually happen in Brazil being presented on the show.”

Coincidentally or not, the character became fixed after a movement in social networks against the production, accused of racism, sexism and creating stereotypes, since no black character appeared in a prominent position in the society.

Source: TV Yahoo, RD1,  TV Yahoo (2)

About Marques Travae 3144 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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