Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so this event took place last Sunday, but I wanted to present the story as yet another example of the growing genre known as Afro-entrepreneurship that is happening all over Brazil wherever Afro-Brazilians have a presence (see note one). The creativity and desire to represent the needs and tastes of Brazil’s vastly underserved black community is to be commended and will surely continue to expand with more calls for investment in black entrepreneurs. The next step in this progression should be a conversation on how individual entrepreneurs can begin to pool their resources and truly begin to make “black power” more than just an inspirational slogan!
Feira Black (Black Expo) will address racial issues and bring together fashion, music, gastronomy and dance
By Cíntia Cruz
The dream of Rayssa Paixão has always been to be a model. But one thing prevented her from stepping on the catwalks or posing for a lens: prejudice. In time, her dream was cast aside. Two and a half years ago, she started working with African hairstyles, an activity she learned from her older sister. Last year, the first invitation came: a parade in Madureira Park for an African label. There she met the collective Achantes, an organization of black women that fights for women’s empowerment. In the group, she parades, participates in photographic essays and events:
“Everyone was saying that I had to lose weight because nobody wants a fat model, but with Achantes it was different. I was accepted for my looks.”
The collective will be one of the attractions of the Feira Black, this Sunday, in Espaço João Cândido, in São João de Meriti, in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio de Janeiro. The event will bring together 26 Afro-entrepreneurs, as well as artistic presentations, lectures, music, fashion and gastronomy.
“It’s a self-sustaining project to strengthen the Movimento Negro (black movement) in the region,” says organizer Marcos Paulo da Silva.
The Acantes Collective, of which Rayssa is a part, will bring black women to model the African theme.
“Our idea is to highlight beleza negra (black beauty) with different stereotypes and break the standard imposed by society, through partnership with Afro-entrepreneurs,” says the creator and producer of Achantes, Danielaine Macedo.
At the debate table, topics such as persecution of religions of African origin, institutional racism and the Comissão da Verdade da Escravidão (Commission on the Truth About Slavery) will be addressed.
“This event motivates the black people so that they can re-encounter themselves,” believes Leila Regina, spokesperson of gender relations of the Casa da Cultura (House of Culture), the event’s conceiver.
The Dandalua group of Popular Dances is one of the artistic attractions. The coordinator Mônica Ferreira says that the event has the same proposal of the group, to bring culture of African origin to the region:
“The idea is to spread this culture that is being lost. We teach and introduce ourselves at the same time.”
The fair will also pay tribute to the ialorixá (see note two) Mãe Beata de Iemanjá, who died on the 27th, at the age of 86. The event will be from 9am to 5pm. Espaço João Cândido is located on Avenida Comendador Teles s/ nº, in Praça da Bandeira.
Source: Vista Minha Pele
- For more examples see Feira Preta, Festival Latinidades, Encrespa Geral or the Encounter of Curly/Kinky Hair for a few more examples of such Afro-oriented expos and seminars.
- Mother of a terreiro, iyalorixá, iyá, ialaorixá or mãe de santo (holy mother) is a priestess and head of a terreiro of candomblé.