Note from BW of Brazil: Well, as always, there’s good news and then there’s the bad news. Well, in this case, perhaps calling it bad news isn’t necessarily how we should put it. But rather the good news and the huge elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss. Before getting to the point, I must remind our readers that I am not a fan of Brazilian television programming. And when I DO watch television it’s more from a perspective of sociological analysis rather than enjoyment. I mean, if one isn’t a fan of futebol, novelas, variety shows and comedy sketches, there really isn’t much to choose from in terms of original national productions. Perhaps this is why so many of my friends and acquaintances prefer cable TV. Anyway…
So news broke a few weeks back that one of Globo TV’s longest running novelas, Malhação, would feature its first black protagonist in its 21-year run. OK, fine, so Globo wants to make it seem that it wants to promote some sort of diversity, right? I can already see executives at the channel throwing up this one name to deflect attention away from the lack of black protagonists on its regular programming. “See, see! We DO have a black protagonist! So there!!!” But pointing out the one protagonist will ultimately lead to the obvious question: What took you so long? This writer has already chimed in on why I don’t expect any major changes in terms of racial representation from any of Brazil’s major networks, so I won’t bother touching on that topic again.
But I will point out one topic that I DO think needs to be addressed. That topic is the lack of black couples in a romantic setting on television programs. OK, so Globo puts a black woman in the lead role on one of its whitest TV programs, but in what seems to be mechanism to dilute this casting, they automatically cast a white male with light colored eyes and off blond hair as her romantic partner. Of course I already know there will be those Brazilians who will come to this site and make accusations of lack of tolerance or hating on the natural history of mixing in Brazil. To this question I would ask the following: When you see white actors and actresses, who are the vast majority on television, how often do you see them paired with another white actor/actress and how often are they paired with an Afro-Brazilian actress/actor in a romantic setting?
Let us first consider the fact that 85% of the actors in these novelas are white, and that probably 90% of the time they are cast opposite other whites. On the other hand, black actors and actresses usually make up 15% of the cast and when they are cast, they are usually paired with a white partner. So what is the message here? The program featured in today’s post, Malhação, serves as a perfect example. I am not a fan of the program (although the program has come up in a number of posts), but when I have occasionally found myself watching the show, I have never seen a black couple. No, I’m not saying that there have never been one in its 20 year history because, as I don’t watch the show regularly, I cannot confirm this. But in my perusing through the show over the years, it IS something that I notice on a regular basis. And as such, one could argue that the program promotes a narrative in which a few drops of blackness immersed in whiteness doesn’t threaten the discourse of whitening that is historically evident in Brazilian history, culture and media productions.
Interestingly, back in March, Rio-based Afro-Brazilian entrepreneur Humberto Baltar noted that when he and his black girlfriend enter chic restaurants, he notes stares of discomfort that he didn’t see happen with white and mixed couples. What Baltar’s observation and Brazil’s media have in common is an apparent rejection of black couples; black couples that love and have black children together. Sound far-fetched? Not really considering Brazil’s historic promotion of interracial relations with the goal of the disappearance of the black race. Not really, considering that at least some of the rejection of Haitian immigrants likely has to do with their dark skin. For as rapper Emicida once put it, “Brazil applauds miscegenation when it lightens (the skin), when it darkens, it condemns it”. Did Emicida have a point? Do Brazilians on average prefer to see miscegenation as long as it produces a skin color closer to that of Gisele Bündchen rather than Pelé? Well, if you’ve read the material on this blog for any amount of time, the answer should be pretty obvious.
Now, what what we discussing again? Oh yes, the novela…Here we go…
FINALLY: After 20 years on the air, Malhação will have a black protagonist for the first time in its history
By Amauri Terto
As the saying goes: Antes tarde do que nunca (better late than never).
After 20 years on the air, the novela (with the feel of a series) Globo TV’s Malhação took a first step towards the much-discussed black representation on TV, placing actress Aline Dias as protagonist.
In 2008, the attraction had come close to a similar position in putting in the main cast black actor Michael Borges. He, however, left the plot in the middle of the season without explanation.
In the new phase, whose title will be Pro Dia Nascer Feliz, Aline will be the main star of the plot. She has already participated in the 2013 novela Sangue Bom, and the 2014 series Sexo e as Negas.
The romantic opposite of Aline Dias will be the model and actor Felipe Roque. He’s appeared in the novela A Regra do Jogo (The Rule of the Game) and movie S.O.S. Mulheres ao Mar 2.
Besides the couple, Louise Cardoso, Marcos Pasquim, Thiago Fragoso and Deborah Secco are already confirmed in the new season – which begins on Aug. 22.
The impact of the news on social networks had broad approval:
I’ll be happy for the black actress who’s having the opportunity to be protagonist, for the black children who watch Malhação
Rafa, o Urgh @urgh
And the new Malhação that FINALLY after 20 years has a black protagonist?! I think it’s good.
Jonnas Silveira @jonnws
Malhação will have its first black protagonist.
Malhação will have the first black protagonist, I’m screaming caralhooo
Jean Chachki ❁ @garotoexemplar
The society is evolving slowly but has already evolved to the point of the next protagonist of Malhação being black. ❤ pic.twitter.com/0M2jdDrDc0
First black protagonist in the history of Malhação ❤
I liked the next protagonists of Malhação. Finally a black protagonist!
The new season of “Malhação” will have the first black protagonist of the series. ‘Pic.twitter.com/XQnExa9BMo
Source: Brasil Post