Apartheid continues! In Salvador, Bahia, black blocos afros groups suffer from lack of sponsorships for Carnival

apartheid

Note from BW of Brazil: So, I’m quite sure that you probably already know that it’s Carnaval season, as international media outlets will always present at least a blurb about one of the biggest parties on Earth. Among the millions of people, Brazilians and foreigners in Brazil specifically to participate in the festivities, there’s sure to be plenty of beer, music, sex and traffic from city to city. Hey, it’s party time, people deserve to just let their hair down and let it all hang out, right? Sure, knock yourself out. But on the other hand, for those interested in the back story behind the big party, there are some other quite disturbing things that go on behind the scenes that many are simply unaware of. I can already hear the boo birds crying foul. “Why you focusing on that stuff? It’s party time!” “Carnaval is the biggest proof that Brazil doesn’t have any racial problems.” “Why are you perpetuating negativity when this is supposed to be time for people to enjoy themselves?” Well, for those people I would say, just don’t read this sort of material. Put your rose colored glasses on an just enjoy the party. This subject is not for people like you. And very simply, I cover this sort of stuff because it has to do with racial issues/politics in Brazil. If these issues didn’t exist, I would have nothing to write about. 

Now, for those still with me, let’s move on…

For a number of years I’ve been covering what activists have long labeled “Apartheid Baiano”, a sort of racial segregation that is visible in Bahian society, particularly in the capital city of Salvador. Salvador’s nickname may be “Black Rome” but many compare it to a sort of Brazilian South Africa in which a small white elite rules the city’s and state’s politics, economics and media. This also applies to the city’s Carnaval season. João Jorge Rodrigues, president of the world famous bloco, Olodum, discussed this back in 2013 when he affirmed that there was a monopoly on the division of resources in Bahia’s party that benefitted one white artist in particular: Ivete Sangalo.

Defining the city of Salvador as the “world champion of apartheid”, Rodrigues opined that blocos afros such as Ilê Aiyê, Filhos de Gandhy, Timbalada and his own group, Olodum, seemed to be dead while others got better sponsorships and greater media visibility. According to another report, larger blocos attracted sponsorships from beer companies and banks while the smaller ones allege surviving on donations. Musician Carlinhos Brown, in coming up with a plan to address these vast inequalities, also mentioned the irony that 80% of Bahia’s Axé music hits, often sung by white artists, comes from these blocos afros but that they remain on the short end of the profits. These accusations made headlines back in 2011, 2012 and 2013. So, in 2019, have these things changed much? Check the story below…

sangalo - Males
Artists such as Ivete Sangalo, left, continue to attract huge sponsorships and media attention while blocos afros such Malê Debalê, right, continue to experience problems attracting such resources

Blocos afros suffer from lack of sponsorship for Salvador’s Carnival

By Daiane Oliveira

The largest street party in the world, Salvador’s Carnival, attracts tourists from all over the world. However, the traditional blocos afros claim that they didn’t get sponsorships, and some will not participate in Carnival 2019.

Ilê Aiyê, a bloco that re-signified the Carnival of Salvador requesting the entry of black people into the party, is celebrating its 45th year on the avenue. Despite the 1,200 members and having secured participating in the Carnival, Antônio Carlos, better known as Vovô, founder and president of the entity, reports that Ilê is promoting shows and events to pay Carnival musicians for 2018 and doesn’t yet know what the payment will be for 2019.

The leader of Ilê Aiyê complains about the lack of sponsorship from the private sector and the constant courtesy requests he receives. “Do not ask me to give you the only thing I have to sell,” says  Vovô.

Antônio Carlos Vovô, fundador e presidente do Ile Ayê
Antônio Carlos, “Vovô”, founder and president of Ile Ayê

The bloco Malê Debalê, celebrating 40 years of Carnival, used its social networks to announce that it will not participate this year due to lack of sponsorship. “Our bloco brings a cry of resistance! It is unacceptable that we have to call for recognition on the eve of the momentous Carnaval festa of our city and, above all, ask for respect for a history that celebrates 40 years…Having Malê Debalê parading at Carnival goes far beyond the meaning of the word revelry!”, says the text that asks for help to have the bloco afro in the festivity.

Another famous representative of the Carnival of Salvador, the singer Guiguio, also has not participated in the party for 3 years. With a 38 year career, the singer and composer was part of the bloco Ilê Aiyê making history in Brazilian music. Among his best-known compositions are “Adeus Bye Bye”, singer Ivete Sangalo’s first success, “O mais belo dos Belos, Por Amor ao Ilê e Pérola Negra”, great successes of Ilê re-recorded by singer Daniela Mercury. In addition to “Candelaria e Valente Nordeste” with the bloco Olodum and others.

Son and producer of the artist, Maurício Souza, Mr. Armeng, says that there is a lack of knowledge of who Guiguio of Ilê is, thus hindering his access to sponsorship. “We don’t know the justifications, I just know that he has been registered in all the edicts in the last 3 years and there was never a lack of document or material”, completes Mr. Armeng.

Guiguio has just received a tribute from Esporte Clube Bahia, which will replace the names of the players on the shirts for the celebrities who have marked and changed the city’s Carnival. “I have always been at the disposal of Bahian music, whether composing or singing raising the flag of great blocos afros, I remain here at the disposal of my audience and the Carnival of Salvador,” says the singer in a passionate way.

The largest street party in the world, Salvador’s Carnival, attracts tourists from all over the world. However, the traditional blocos afros claim that they didn’t get sponsorships, and some will not participate in Carnival 2019.

Ile - Debale
Blocos Afros such as Ilê Aiyê and Malê Debalê have recently expressed their difficulties in attracting sponsorship funding

Ilê Aiyê, a bloco that re-signified the Carnival of Salvador requesting the entry of black people into the party, is celebrating its 45th year on the avenue. Despite the 1,200 members and having secured participating in the Carnival, Antônio Carlos, better known as Vovô, founder and president of the entity, reports that Ilê is promoting shows and events to pay Carnival musicians for 2018 and doesn’t yet know what the payment will be for 2019.

The leader of Ilê Aiyê complains about the lack of sponsorship from the private sector and the constant courtesy requests he receives. “Do not ask me to give you the only thing I have to sell,” says  Vovô.

The bloco Malê Debalê, celebrating 40 years of Carnival, used its social networks to announce that it will not participate this year due to lack of sponsorship. “Our bloco brings a cry of resistance! It is unacceptable that we have to call for recognition on the eve of the momentous Carnaval festa of our city and, above all, ask for respect for a history that celebrates 40 years…Having Malê Debalê parading at Carnival goes far beyond the meaning of the word revelry!”, says the text that asks for help to have the bloco afro in the festivity.

Com 38 anos de carreira, o cantor e compositor Guiguio integrou o bloco Ilê Aiyê fazendo história música brasileira
With a 38 year career, the singer and composer was part of the bloco Ilê Aiyê making history in Brazilian music.

Another famous representative of the Carnival of Salvador, the singer Guiguio, also has not participated in the party for 3 years. With a 38 year career, the singer and composer was part of the bloco Ilê Aiyê making history in Brazilian music. Among his best-known compositions are “Adeus Bye Bye”, singer Ivete Sangalo’s first success, “O mais belo dos Belos, Por Amor ao Ilê e Pérola Negra”, great successes of Ilê re-recorded by singer Daniela Mercury. In addition to “Candelaria e Valente Nordeste” with the bloco Olodum and others.

Son and producer of the artist, Maurício Souza, Mr. Armeng, says that there is a lack of knowledge of who Guiguio of Ilê is, thus hindering his access to sponsorship. “We don’t know the justifications, I just know that he has been registered in all the edicts in the last 3 years and there was never a lack of document or material”, completes Mr. Armeng.

Ilê Aiyê, bloco que ressignificou o Carnaval de Salvador
Ilê Aiyê, the bloco that brought a new meaning to the Carnival of Salvador

Guiguio has just received a tribute from Esporte Clube Bahia, which will replace the names of the players on the shirts for the celebrities who have marked and changed the city’s Carnival. “I have always been at the disposal of Bahian music, whether composing or singing raising the flag of great blocos afros, I remain here at the disposal of my audience and the Carnival of Salvador,” says the singer in a passionate way.

Source: Notícia Preta

About Marques Travae 2993 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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