Note from BW of Brazil: I have to admit that I love the photos featured in this article. Five black actresses, of five different skin tones representing the diversity of black beauty. Four of the women in today’s piece have been previously featured in the archives of this blog and it’s a nice touch to be able to get them all together for a photo shoot. The roles the actresses took on in a recent novela can be interpreted a few ways, depending on your perspective. First, a little of the plot of the soap opera.
The novela begins in 1886, two years before the abolition of slavery in Brazil. A well-off family sets sail for England. On a detour, the ship collides with an iceberg and sinks. Due to the extreme cold of the temperatures under water, the passengers, including the family’s slaves are frozen into a sort of suspended animation. 132 years later, in 2018, the block of ice with the frozen passengers is discovered and taken to a lab that specializes in cryogenics. The thawed out passengers come back to life and must learn to adapt to their new reality more than a century and quarter later.
The plot is quite creative, but once again, as we’ve seen in too many Brazilian novelas than I can count, black women and men are featured in the roles of slaves. One could argue that the roles and social ascension in the case of former slaves in the novela represents the similar struggle of the Afro-Brazilian population that has seen a number of its people experience success in their lives that would have been close to impossible just 30 years ago. With one of the women being featured as lawyer and another character going on to become a millionaire, some could say the image of black women is being redeemed in the novela, but again, I always question why Brazil’s TV networks must insist on maintaining the image of the black population as slaves. In reality, I already know the answer…
Actresses unite in empowering photo shoot: “Freedom and Equality”
Lucy Ramos, Cris Vianna, Aline Dias, Juliana Alves and Olívia Duarte have played characters ranging from ex-slaves to successful women in O Tempo Não Para (time doesn’t stop)
Since the O Tempo Não Para novela (soap opera) began taking its first steps at 7:00pm, Mario Teixeira has presented an empowered text, full of criticism of society and, especially, touching deep into the wound of racial prejudice. To celebrate such a historic moment, Lucy Ramos joined her cast mates Cris Vianna, Aline Dias, Juliana Alves and Olívia Duarte to close the cycle of the novela with an exclusive photo shoot for Marie Claire magazine.
Lucy, for example, is radiant with the result of her character, the lawyer Vanda, who has shown in 155 chapters that the black woman may be a successful professional. It highlights the brilliance and competence of this generation of black actresses who are making a difference on the small screen.
“Although some of the roles interpreted are directly related to the period of slavery in Brazil, there was room for reflection on freedom and equality. Today we consider ourselves freer, we can expose what we think and celebrate every little achievement of our rights. With competence and disposition, we want to give a positive meaning to the expression ‘a coisa está ficando preta’ (the thing is getting black). And if it depends on those five women, on this strength and unity, the new meaning is already valid,” she says.
Aline Dias, who is 27, grew up without many successful black references and played a former slave who thawed in the 21st century and became a chef.
“I have a sense of satisfaction and love to live in this time when women finally unite and are giving voice to several pertinent issues that we used to keep quiet about. Continuing the work depicting so many girls alongside great actresses only makes me look back and thank the black actresses who struggled to open our paths. (Actresses) Zezé Motta, Ruth de Souza, Chica Xavier, Taís Araújo… thank God, we are in a larger number, strengthening and struggling not to be exceptions,” she says.
Olivia Duarte, who already has 7 novelas on her resumé, in addition to series and films, believes that there is an opportunity for these women. She comments that there is a generation of talented actors, in the theater and in the movies, who are coming with more force to the TV.
“We are gradually breaking stereotypes and being placed as, in fact reality is, being inserted within the society. Only in this way will we see black actors interpreting diverse characters, from domestic servants to doctors, from scientists to street vendors, criminals to delegates, lawyers to teachers, and finally portraying what day to day is. I believe that in this way, when we have to tell stories of the time in which we were enslaved, the understanding will also be another, after all we have come looking for ways for centuries to be contemplated or even judged by our competence and talent, not by gender or race. After all, it’s independent of the race, we’re just evolving people,” she says, playing the former slave Cesárea who became a millionaire.
Juliana Alves says that although we live a moment full of uncertainties and threats to fundamental rights, she still manages to be optimistic about the future of the country’s children.
“I try to understand more and more how I can contribute to the causes in which I believe. I hope and desire and fight for a future that guarantees dignified education for the children, where one can have the exercise of critical thinking about what we experience on a daily basis without fear of expressing ourselves. I hope they will never give up respecting and being respected, that they feel powerful and capable of contributing to a more just society. I want the new generation to grow loving the natural wealth of our country, experiencing our culture and respecting differences.”
Finally, Cris Vianna endorses the comments of her colleagues and recalls that the fight against machismo is also a daily struggle that can never be forgotten.
“I’m sure that here in Brazil the awareness that machismo was detrimental to the growth of various family and professional backgrounds and still very strong in relation to women. But many of them, including me, are moving to change this with awareness of this process in the personal and collective ” she points out.
Source: Revista Marie Claire