Actress, writer and educator, Cristiane Sobral was the first black woman to graduate in Theatrical Interpretation at the University of Brasília (UnB). Born in the Coqueiros section of west Rio de Janeiro, she arrived in Brasilia in 1990, where he began performing in theater in. At age 16, she attended UnB studying Performing Arts. She completed her degree in 1998 with the play “A Doll in the Trash (Uma Boneca no Lixo)”, directed by Hugo Rodas.
He founded the theater group Cabeça Feita, formed with various black artists, with whom she performed in Luanda, the capital of Angola in 2004. She has published literary works in the series Cadernos Negros, an anthology published annually by the Group Quilombhoje of São Paulo, a collective of Afro-Brazilian writers that has existed since 1978.
Since 2002, she has participated in the group “Oi Poema” alongside Luís Turiba, Nicholas Behr, Amneres Pereira and Bic Prado, presenting poetic recitals at events like the International Poetry Biennial and “Barca Poética”. In 2007, she lived in Luanda for three months, when she put on shows and coordinated a theater course at the invitation of the Angolan Ministry of Culture.
Her academic and professional background includes a Master of Arts at UNB (ongoing), Specialization in Teaching at the college level, a degree in Performing Arts and Bachelor of Theatrical Interpretation. Currently, beyond artistic and literary work, Cristiane is the substitute teacher of the Performing Arts Department of UnB, cultural advisor of the Embassy of Angola and professor of the Faculty of Arts at Dulcina de Moraes and ALUB College.
In a candid interview with the Fundação Cultural Palmares, Cristiane discusses her views on the challenges that face black Brazilian women, black identity and the effects of affirmative action policies in Brazil.
FCP – What is to be a black woman in today’s society?
Cristiane – Balancing work, family, hobbies, desires and aspirations have not been, at any time, an easy task. The challenge of being a woman is present in all areas. Stereotypes, ideological aggression of the imposition of non-black aesthetic standards, the commercial sexual exploitation of our image, especially in the media, wage differences, racial inequality and social issues related to employment, education, health and violence are still present in the daily lives of black women. The numbers still denounce the harsh reality of inequality that affects black women in Brazil, a country with the largest population of this ethnic group outside Africa. This implies the recognition and promotion of specific actions that enable the construction of black identity in the face of the ambiguity of the feminine nature and of the above mentioned challenges.
FCP – In your opinion, what are the main achievements of black women in Brazil and what still needs to be conquered?
Cristiane – It is worth noting the importance of recognition on the part of these women of dignity as a race and the affirmation of black identity, as well as the contribution of the entities of the Movimento Negro and some other civil society organizations as some of the elements that are leveraging this process of change, along with the initiatives of individuals. The victories are still occurring at a slow pace, require effort and charge a high price for most women.
FCP – What are the benefits that affirmative action policies are bringing to black women?
Cristiane – Affirmative Action policies or diversity policies, contribute effectively to reducing disparities in the labor market and other spaces where black women are not fittingly represented, the promotion of the debate on a more ethical dimension in labor relations, the promotion of equal opportunities and combating racial discrimination.
Source: Black Women of Brazil