Note from BW of Brazil: When most people around the world think of Brazilian Carnaval, they usually think of the spectacle broadcast from Rio de Janeiro. Lots of samba dancing and lots of brown flesh on display for all the world to see. But in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil’s center of African culture, the scenario is quite different. In the city and state most recognized for its blackness, blocos afros that have been historically important in raising the racial consciousness of the population, crown their ebony goddesses! In a counterpoint to the spectacles in Rio and São Paulo, the black women that compete in Salvador are wear outfits that bring attention to their overall presence rather than their raw flesh! The message? A black woman doesn’t have to be nearly naked to be beautiful and the center of attention! See the report and great photos below!
Bloco Muzenza chooses their Carnival queen. Check out the photos
Courtesy of Correio Nagô
Meet Deyse Santos Barreto, dancer, 35, elected on January 28, 2015 as Queen Muzembela in the 2015 Bloco Afro Muzenza contest. The chosen queen will be featured during the bloco’s parade, coming out on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday on the Campo Grande circuit in Salvador, Bahia. During the year, the chosen one will participate in Muzenza’s cultural activities.
The night of the choosing of the queen’s saw the participation of the singers Juliana Ribeiro and Denise Correia.
Among the jurors, who had the difficult task of choosing the queen, were the journalist Maíra Azevedo, actor Jorge Washington, the businesswoman Najara Black, the NBlack designer brand, among others. Production of the event was by the company Lua Azul, of advertising agent Luciane Neves.
Born in 1981, Muzenza had as vocalists the singers Chocolate, Nem Tatuagem and Zeô. In 1988, the group released their first album, Muzenza do Reggae. The bloco has had songs recorded by the likes of Margareth Menezes (Povo vem ver), Carlinhos Brown (Rumpillé), Maria Bethania (A terra tremeu), Gal Costa (Brilho beleza) and Daniela Mercury (Swing da cor).
The afro bloco’s Carnival was named “Nordeste Negro” (Black Northeast Black). Seeking institutional strengthening, this year the bloco is sponsored by companies such as Petrobras and Casas Bahia.
Night of the Black Beauty elects new Queen of Ilê Aiyê and celebrated the struggle of black women
Courtesy of Diga Bahia
The title of Deusa do Ébano (Ebony Goddess) 2015 title was awarded to Alexandra Amorim, from the city of Itapuã (Bahia) in a night which was attended by the governor Rui Costa and the Secretary of Culture, Jorge Portugal.
The sound of the Band Aiyê announced the long-awaited Noite fa Beleza Negra (Night of the Black Beauty), in the Senzala do Barro Preto, in the Curuzu region. The show of the bloco Ilê Aiyê’s official band opened one of the busiest events of the Salvador summer, held for 36 years, recognized as a main celebration of festivals of Brazilian negritude.
All eyes were focused on the 15 candidates for the title of Deusa do Ébano (Ebony Goddess), but whoever went to the party had a whole night of enchantment, given the magnitude of the spectacular that was presented, from start to finish.
The chosen one for the title of Queen of Ilê Aiyê 2015 was the baiana, from the Itapuã neighborhood, Alexandra Amorim, 33, Physical Education teacher, who was running for the fourth time. For her, the determinants of this achievement were perseverance, knowing how to dance, kindness and consciousness of being black and this role in society. “My father went out every year in Ilê and once, he said, one day you will be the Ebony Goddess and will dance like not even the woman up there. In 2010, I tried for the first time, he was alive here in the court, but I didn’t get it. Now, already my fourth time, he is not physically present, but I believe that, where he is, he must also be celebrating,” said Alexandra, who dedicated his achievement to her family.
Second place went to manicurist Larissa Oliveira, 21, from the Cajazeiras neighborhood, and third went to university Milena Sampaio, 30, of Cabula. They received the title of princesses and this year, Ilê Aiyê conceded for the first time the privilege of them also parading, in the bloco, during Carnival.
The president of the institution, Vovô, recalled that the election of the Deusa do Ébano is a principle affirmative actions of Ilê. “We live in a very racist land, so having a party with this structure is a great achievement. I am saddened by some sectors that still have the rancidity of mental slavery. But tonight is the party and we are prepared to make a great Carnival.”
If the parade of candidates, with gorgeous costume of African moorings made by the Ilê Aiyê designer, Dete Lima, was responsible for one of the most beautiful moments of the show, the tributes also magnified the party. With an impeccable production, which had artistic direction of Elísio Lopes Jr., black women who fought, conquered space and made history were revered: Zezé Motta, who starred in the movie Xica da Silva (1976), Mãe Hilda Jitolú, who was Ilê’s spiritual leader for many years, and Dona Ivone Lara, samba matriarch and one of the first performers of the genre, exalted by singers Juliana Ribeiro and Aloisio Menezes, who went into the crowd and brought the audience together in a large roda de samba (samba circle) to the sound of “Alguém Me Avisou” written by Dona Ivone.
The tribute to Zezé Mota happened with a beautiful staging headed by the actress and singer Denise Correia. One of the moments of the greatest excitement, however, was during the tribute to Mãe Hilda Jitolu, represented by board director of Ilê Aiyê since 1986, Arany Santana. The scene featured a dance performance of soloist ballerina Nildinha Fonseca and the participation of children from the Escola Mãe Hilda school and Band’erê. The night was still exciting with a great show by singer Lazzo and participation of the Jamaican Dr. Norris Weir.
With a full house, all these moments were also witnessed by the State Governor, Rui Costa (PT), the Secretary of Culture Jorge Portugal, Nelson Pelegrino (Secretary of Tourism), Vera Lúcia (Secretary of Promotion of Racial Equality – Sepromi) Olívia Santana, the Secretariat of Policies for Women (SPM) and the Minister for Racial Equality from 2010 to 2014, Luiza Helena Bairros.
For the newly appointed Secretary of Culture, the 41 years of Ilê is the mark of a great movement. “Ilê is this change in the mind of blacks, which has gone on to consider themselves, raise their self-esteem, have respect for themselves and know that it represents an aesthetic that is essential for us to recognize the face of this state and this country. The country and the state are still owe a lot to these people. When you focus on the figure of the woman, the road is even longer. But revolution is a process, every day it’s an achievement and every achievement, a trophy. It looks like it’s a party, but, deep down, it’s always struggle. “
The Noite da Beleza Negra (Night of the Black Beauty) is sponsored by the Government of Bahia (through theSecretariat of Culture – SecultBa), Petrobras, Caixa and the Federal Government.