Afro-Brazilian actors continue playing poor, suffering, stereotypical characters on TV

Capa

Note from BW of Brazil: There is simply no way to deny that in  any given society, the media, in particular television, plays a huge role in the dissemination and shaping of opinions and values. It also has a way of shaping and naturalizing the particular roles that certain groups play in society and legitimizing the standards for which society deems normal. For example, judging from television, what type of woman is that TV presents as the standard for all to follow? Does this woman have an age range? Height? Weight? Hair color? According to television, what type of woman is deemed most desirable? The most beautiful? Also according to television, what is the woman’s place in relation to men?

These same questions can be applied in terms of race. How does Brazilian television portray black people? As numerous posts on this blog have shown, Brazilian society clearly has a “place” reserved for Afro-Brazilians. In terms of area, this place is the favela (slum). In terms of employment, jobs of less prestige (maids, security guards, garbage collectors) are clearly associated with black Brazilians. In contrast, due to racist perceptions and practices of exclusion, roles associated with power, beauty, wealth, intelligence continue to be associated with Brazilians of European phenotypes. Historically, Brazilian television has always re-enforced these associations and, as we will see, this representation continues to be true today.

Black actors still playing poor and suffering characters on TV

Taís Araújo, Milton Gonçalves and Fabrício Boliveira in a scene from the 2008 novela, "A Favorita"
Taís Araújo, Milton Gonçalves and Fabrício Boliveira in a scene from the 2008 novela, “A Favorita”

By Vinícius Ferreira

Majority of roles on novelas (soap operas) are marginalized characters and general service jobs

Tuesday, May 13th marked 126 years of the abolition of slavery in Brazil. Novelas and more novelas have for many years and continue to fill the small screen with scenes of prejudice and racism to highlight the importance of the signing of the Lei Áurea (Golden Law), but the iG website wondered: in practice, are the Brazilian dramas overcoming the obstacles of discrimination?

In an analysis of soap operas featured on the major TV networks, it was found that out of 28 black characters on the Globo, SBT and Record networks, only five don’t portray characters working in marginalized professions, experience dramas or suffered some sort of abuse. On the Globo network novela, Geração Brasil, actors Luis Miranda and Lázaro Ramos occupy prominent roles in successful characters.

The actor Nando Cunha revealed in an interview with iG on the Day of Black Consciousness, that he feels the harsh reality in his profession. “I have suffered prejudice of various kinds. I always hear, ‘this role is not for your profile’. But when they say ‘no’, I have greater strength. I dream that the future will be easier, in which I don’t need to push myself so much,” he says. “If I had blue eyes, was blonde and white, it would be much easier.

“Even with all this success I’ve had, I’m not escalating for anything. If it were a white guy in my place that had all of this success I wouldn’t be unemployed. I know my potential and what I’m capable of doing. I only dream that the dispute is normal for everyone. And I don’t complain of the privilege of others. I just want the same rights,” he added.

“The situation of the black citizen is much better than before, although I believe that what is still offered to blacks appearance of charity, or correcting a historical error, which is made in a not so fair manner,” said the musician Péricles in a recent interview with iG. The singer Thiaguinho endorsed: “Every day more blacks occupy better positions in society, but it’s still far from what we dream of. We need more opportunities to show our value..”

See the photo gallery of afrodescendentes (African descendants) who are the actors that are on the air at the moment and what their roles are.

In Globo TV's "Em Família", Marcello Melo Jr. portrays the lowlife Jairo, who, besides trying to take advantage of everyone, is also a sex maniac.
In Globo TV’s “Em Família”, Marcello Melo Jr. portrays the lowlife Jairo, who, besides trying to take advantage of everyone, is also a sex maniac.
Elina de Souza plays the humble caregiver for the elderly, Neidinha, a domestic’s daughter who was raped when she was young
Elina de Souza plays the humble caregiver for the elderly, Neidinha, a domestic’s daughter who was raped when she was young
…and the fruit of that rape is Alice, played by Erika Januza
…and the fruit of that rape is Alice, played by Erika Januza
Dulce, played by Lica Oliveira, is a college professor who goes through the drama of being rejected by her white foster child
Dulce, played by Lica Oliveira, is a college professor who goes through the drama of being rejected by her white foster child
Jorge de Sá plays Matias, Alice’s boyfriend and a music student in the novela.
Jorge de Sá plays Matias, Alice’s boyfriend and a music student in the novela.
There are always a lot of black domestic workers and Tânia Toko is Rosa the right hand of Helena’s house (Em Família)
There are always a lot of black domestic workers and Tânia Toko is Rosa the right hand of Helena’s house (Em Família)
Rafael Zulu is Theo, another caregiver in a nursing home on "Em Família"
Rafael Zulu is Theo, another caregiver in a nursing home on “Em Família”
Carla Cristina Cardoso plays Ivi, another maid (Em Família)
Carla Cristina Cardoso plays Ivi, another maid (Em Família)
Ju Colombo plays Ceiça, who works in Selma’s home in Goiânia (Em Família)
Ju Colombo plays Ceiça, who works in Selma’s home in Goiânia (Em Família)
Taís Araújo is the fighter Veronica Monteiro, a journalist who was forced to abandon school to raise her child on Globo’s Geração Brasil... In other words, another suffering character.
Taís Araújo is the fighter Veronica Monteiro, a journalist who was forced to abandon school to raise her child on Globo’s Geração Brasil… In other words, another suffering character.
Lázaro Ramos, plays Brian Roberto Benson, a gifted, only son of Dorothy, who enters Harvard at age 14. Currently he is the pop Guru of Jonas Marra (Geração Brasil)
Lázaro Ramos, plays Brian Roberto Benson, a gifted, only son of Dorothy, who enters Harvard at age 14. Currently he is the pop Guru of Jonas Marra (Geração Brasil)

 

Luis Miranda plays the transgender Dorothy Benson. Thin, elegant, works in public relations and is the godmother of Pamela Parker (Claudia Abreu) on Geração Brasil
Luis Miranda plays the transgender Dorothy Benson. Thin, elegant, works in public relations and is the godmother of Pamela Parker (Claudia Abreu) on Geração Brasil
Nando Cunha is the Samba musician Dante, who spends his time in rodas de samba (Geração Brasil)
Nando Cunha is the Samba musician Dante, who spends his time in rodas de samba (Geração Brasil)
Kaue Ribeiro de Souza Grande is the friend of the mischievous Serelepe (Globo TV’s Meu Pedacinho de Chão)
Kaue Ribeiro de Souza Grande is the friend of the mischievous Serelepe (Globo TV’s Meu Pedacinho de Chão)
Dani Ornellas is Amância, the wonderful cook of the Big House on Globo TV’s Meu Pedacinho de Chão
Dani Ornellas is Amância, the wonderful cook of the Big House on Globo TV’s Meu Pedacinho de Chão
Flavio Bauraqui is Rodapé, an employee of Colonel Epa’s farm (Meu Pedacinho de Chão)
Flavio Bauraqui is Rodapé, an employee of Colonel Epa’s farm (Meu Pedacinho de Chão)
In A Grande Família, the brilliant actor Luís Miranda leaves the women’s clothing in the Geração Brasil studios, and dresses up as Pajé the pai de santo/taxi driver (Globo TV)
In “A Grande Família”, the brilliant actor Luís Miranda leaves the women’s clothing in the Geração Brasil studios, and dresses up as Pajé the pai de santo/taxi driver (Globo TV)
Érico Brás plays in Tapas e Beijos (Globo TV). In the comedy, the actor is the sleazy waiter Jurandir.
Érico Brás plays in Tapas e Beijos (Globo TV). In the comedy, the actor is the sleazy waiter Jurandir.
In Pé na Cova (Globo TV), Niana Machado is the scatterbrained beloved maid Bá
In Pé na Cova (Globo TV), Niana Machado is the scatterbrained beloved maid Bá
Singer/musician Mart’nália (right) is the lesbian mechanic and successful tire shop owner Tamanco on Globo TV’s Pé na Cova
Singer/musician Mart’nália (right) is the lesbian mechanic and successful tire shop owner Tamanco on Globo TV’s Pé na Cova
Mauricio Xavier is Marcão, a transvestite and the brother of Tamanco that dresses up as Markassa when he wants to change up
Mauricio Xavier is Marcão, a transvestite and the brother of Tamanco that dresses up as Markassa when he wants to change up
Soninja, played by Karin Hils (right), is a twin sister and owner of a hotdog pushcart (Pé na Cova)
Soninja, played by Karin Hils (right), is a twin sister and owner of a hotdog pushcart (Pé na Cova)
On Globo’s Malhação, Congolese actor Blaise Musipere plays the role of Haitian immigrant Frédéric.
On Globo’s Malhação, Congolese actor Blaise Musipere plays the role of Haitian immigrant Frédéric.
André Luiz Miranda plays Djalma, Joana’s son on Record TV’s Pecado Mortal
André Luiz Miranda plays Djalma, Joana’s son on Record TV’s “Pecado Mortal”
Roberta Santiago (Urana Torres) is a policewoman doing important undercover work in the underworld of trafficking and prostitution (Pecado Mortal)
Roberta Santiago (Urana Torres) is a policewoman doing important undercover work in the underworld of trafficking and prostitution (Pecado Mortal)
On the Record TV network, André Ramiro is Mineral, a soldier of the jogo de bicho (Pecado Mortal)
On the Record TV network, André Ramiro is Mineral, a soldier of the “jogo de bicho” (1) (Pecado Mortal) (2)
On SBT TV’s Chiquitatas, Julia Oliver plays the suffering Pata, a young woman who after running away from home goes to various orphanages, was arrested by police and separated from her brother.
On SBT TV’s Chiquitatas, Julia Oliver plays the suffering Pata, a young woman who after running away from home goes to various orphanages, was arrested by police and separated from her brother.
João Acaibe is the friendly and harmonious Tio (Uncle) Chico, the orphanage’s cook, also on "Chiquitatas"
João Acaibe is the friendly and harmonious Tio (Uncle) Chico, the orphanage’s cook, also on “Chiquitatas”

Source: iG Gente, Black Women of Brazil

Notes

1. Jogo do Bicho (“the animal game”) is an illegal gambling game in Brazil, prohibited by federal law since 1946. Very popular throughout the country, the “game” is actually a lottery-type drawing operated on a regional basis by mobsters known as contraventores (who commit misdemeanors), bicheiros or banqueiros (“bankers”). Unlike most state-operated lotteries, in Jogo do Bicho you can bet any amount of money, even a cent. Despite its popularity (and being more or less tolerated, especially in Rio de Janeiro), it is still illegal in 25 of the 26 states of Brazil and those involved may be prosecuted. Paraíba is the only state where the game is legal and regulated by the state, even though according to a federal law this activity is prohibited. In other northeastern states the game is tolerated by the government. Source

2. Afro-Brazilian actors were also featured on a previous post about the novela Pecado Mortal.

About Marques Travae 2897 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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