Black, brown and beige beauty: In special photo shoot, ten gorgeous black women of popular Globo TV variety show discuss blackness, representation and struggle
By Marques Travae
Ya know, with the sheer gorgeousness of the women in these photos, it’s not even absolutely necessary to even include commentary on the images. Black women of various skin tones, hair textures and styles, but all from the same TV program and in celebration of the same event.
The Month of Black Consciousness in Brazil is actually in November, which is when these fabulous shots were taken, some from 2018, while others were taken last November. But it’s Black History Month in the United States, and as the issues concerning the black population in the two countries are very similar, the experiences bringing the ladies together for this special photo shoot can be applied to both as well.
I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the TV program of which these ladies are dancers, the Globo TV network Sunday evening variety show Domingão do Faustão, and I can’t really fanthom how this show has been on the air for so long (almost thirty-one years), but as this blog focuses on Brazil, mostly in terms of perspectives of race, even this show has popped up on this blog from time to time.
As I don’t generally watch this program, I have to admit I was but surprised a few weeks ago when I saw a recent episode of the show. I didn’t actually sit there and count, but of the 25-30 dancers normally featured on the show, there were quite a few more visibly black women than there were when I first discussed this issue several years ago. I didn’t imagine that there were ten, but no complaints here. Brazil’s black population has been demanding more representation in the media for years, and while they are still lacking in positions of authority and direction, even I have to acknowledge seeing more black faces in several different areas, such as advertising, as I mentioned a few weeks back.
The photo shoot that brought the black women of the Faustão show together took place both in 2018 and 2019, and in celebration of Black Consciousness Month, several of the women discussed a number of topics that have been the main issues covered on this blog for a number of years: black representation, racism, exclusion, the development of black identity and the transition into wearing naturally kinky/curly hair.
The photo shoots clicked a total of 11 women, including Brennda Martins, Camila Lobo, Carol Amaral, Francielle Pimenta, Ivi Pizzott, Jennifer Araujo, Leticia Lopes, Nathália Zannin, Pâmella Gomes, Paula Santos and Carol Agnelo, all part of the Balé do Faustão dance troupe on the Rede Globo Sunday evening variety show. Although the shoot featured a diverse range of black skin tones and all out gorgeousness, the women also proudly spoke on how they feel about representing black women in a country that still promotes Eurocentric standards of beauty.
Check out what some of the ladies had to say below.
“A beautiful photo shoot with a lot of melanin. May we inspire many girls, women, blacks, men and women warriors to get where they want to go. Never giving up on your dreams and always fighting for them. We still have many barriers to be broken, our struggle is daily, that we have a tolerant state where racial equality and without prejudice prevails,” said Pâmella.
“Everything is more difficult for a black person. You have to prove 100 times that you are better. It’s tiring, hard, painful. If you don’t have extraordinary strength, you can’t go through this. But we came into the world to fight. We are warriors,” said Brennda.
“We have always fought for equality, respect and love”, defended Nathália.
“Together, we show that we are inspiring women, not only as artists and dancers, but as black personalities within Brazilian television. This power needs to be valued. In the photo shoot, we showed our unity, our strength, our power and our roots. Each with her hair style, with her personality… Showing this, I know that we are inspiring many black children and women. We want them to know that they are capable and can get wherever they want to go.”
“Being able to represent so many black women and children who don’t feel represented is of an importance that sometimes we don’t even imagine. I get messages from girls thanking me for watching me dance, like I’m doing it for them… And I really am. I have many people, all over Brazil, cheering for my victories, and I’m at Domingão do Faustão for them too.”
“I am very proud to be a woman, black, and to have been born in Bahia, the blackest state in Brazil. This population vibrates every time they see me on Domingão do Faustão, and that thrills me. Today, I am synonymous with representation for these people. It is very gratifying to be able to inspire people and make them believe that they can achieve their goals.”
I feel honored to be where I am, on TV today, and to have other black women along. It’s important for our representation. I’m happy to be a reference for many black women. I receive messages saying that I am a source of inspiration for them, who decided to accept their hair the way it is because of me, because they saw that I went through a (hair) transition. A gratitude that I will take forever.
“Today, that I have my daughter, I see representativeness in another way. Turning on the TV and feeling like there are people like us there is priceless. I experienced a childhood when it didn’t exist. Occupying all spaces is necessary for our people to know that, whatever happens, no one will stop us from doing anything.”
“I can say that today I am proud to be black, but it was very difficult to accept that. Today, I have a very high acceptance. I am proud to be black, and to be able to gain space. And that makes me very happy. I am very proud of myself, my color, my race.”
“I, a black woman, am empowered, because I feel capable of fulfilling my dreams. I’m not afraid to take chances and bet on my intuition. Balé do Faustão is the greatest achievement of my life, and I am very happy to see how much we, black women, are gaining space.”
“For those who come from a very humble cradle and carry within themselves a passion for dance, the question of empowerment has always been present in my challenges. A black woman, who dreams of being the protagonist of her own history, needs a lot of willpower to overcome the barriers of prejudice. We have to build, together, a world where these differences cease to exist. “
“Since I was little, my father always taught me to value our color and, above all, our daily struggle. Being at the Balé do Faustão, and being able to enter the homes of millions of people every Sunday, is to show that we won. We are art and beauty. The black women here carry the responsibility of representing the dreams of many others, and of leaving the doors open for those to come.”
With information from Globo and Caras