Note from BW of Brazil: As with so many other areas of Brazilian society, when discussing the issue of literature, the question must be asked: Where are the black authors? And more specifically, where are the black women authors? It is a theme that has found a place on the pages of this site, as the absence Afro-Brazilian authors is obvious to anyone who happens to stop inside any local or national book seller throughout Brazil. Of course, most Brazilians haven’t even noticed the issue, as everyone believes “we are all equal”, or that bringing the up the issue is racism in itself, or whining or that white authors should represent the voices of all. I mean, who would wanna read the writings of “the negroes”, right?
Well, more and more black authors are demanding their place in the landscape of Brazil’s literature market and the recent release of a book by an independent author shows that there is a market looking for Afro-Brazilian literature. Well, here we are a year later, and once again, the lack of presence of black writers at one of Brazil’s biggest literature events is once again a front and center issue. With the release of a catalog featuring profiles of over 180 professional black Brazilian women in a wide range of areas, there’s is no way to claim there aren’t any black women making contributions to not only the literary world but many other fields in society. They have been there for a long time. So why is it so hard to find their work or hear them at important book festivals and other important events? I’ll give you three guesses…
Catalog released at Flip literature event questions black feminine invisibility
By Sabrina Pinheiro
July 29, 2017
Black invisibility returned to the topic of debate on Saturday afternoon (29), at the 15th Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (FLIP or International Literary Festival of Paraty).
With data on the intellectual production of 181 black women, and divided according to the area of activity, the Catálogo de mulheres negras visíveis (Catalog of visible black women) is defined by the organizer Giovana Xavier as “a record of stories that are not submerged.”
The release of the work brought together approximately 300 people – among them retired teacher Diva Guimaraes, whose speech moved the actor Lázaro Ramos at a table held the day before – who squeezed themselves into the small space of Casa Amado Saramago.
“This project is not an answer. It is a policy of construction of rights for women and it has a political sense to say so in a literary festa. We have the right to be human,” said Giovana.
“The ‘visible’ are part of a policy of ‘desensinamento’ (unteaching) of the places destined to black women in Brazil. As the writer Conceição Evaristo says, invisibility is death in life. Let us remain visible,” she continued.
For the researcher Djamila Ribeiro, who also participated in the release ceremony, the catalog has the function of “preventing genocide, but doesn’t have the pretension to delegitimize values of society.”
“With colonization, we know how much our culture was denied. To bring a catalog of black intellectuals is to present our production of thought. It’s not that we are delegitimizing anything, we want to reconfigure the world and that goes through our voices,” she explained.
Quote: “The black woman is an icon of a beauty different from the European standard. She is not portrayed and doesn’t have a voice in the reference of the media that makes propaganda. Racism distorts this beauty: racism hurts, unbalances, sickens and kills.” – Professor Ângela Brito
The time and the turn of black women intellectuals
Catalog that highlights the work of 180 black women will be released at Flip
By Beatriz Sanz
The 15th edition of Flip will bring, in addition to the traditional discussion tables, a novelty: the release of a work, which in this case is the catalog Intelectuais Negras Visíveis. The book reveals the production of 180 black women in 12 different fields of action that go far beyond literature or academic production. The catalog will be available only on the online platforms and was developed by the Intelectuais Negras UFRJ (Black Women Intellectuals of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) study group and organized by Professor Giovana Xavier.
The release will take place on July 29 at Casa Amado and Saramago, one of the parallel centers of programming, and was planned by the curator of Flip 2017, historian and journalist Joselia Aguiar, who became interested in the project after reading the criticisms made by Xavier Last year when Flip had no black author in its ranks.
However, both refute that the invitation is a response to the reprimands of the researcher of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) to the previous event. Giovana says that she felt in the invitation a “sincere movement” in order to follow the social transformations that Brazil is experiencing. Joselia, in turn, argues that Flip is an event of reference and excellence and therefore has a responsibility to follow these debates, which are being set up around the world.
The work is even more innovative because it expands the established concept of intellectual since it is not only about the scholars validated by the universities. “Observing the participation of black women in areas such as health, human rights, entrepreneurship runs counter to the stereotype of reading the black woman as a single thing, an object or someone always available to serve,” says Xavier. Public intellectuals and basic education are two fields of action that the researcher treats as an eye girl. According to her, the work of teachers is very muted and this is an important space because it is where the future generations are educated.
The catalog had no institutional funding. To make a living, UFRJ researchers had the support of personalities such as the master in philosophy Djamila Ribeiro, the author and writer Lázaro Ramos, the dentist Marcia Alves and the journalist Flávia Oliveira.
THE ECOS OF LIMA BARRETO
In addition to the release of the catalog, in this year’s Flip the main homage will be to a black author. In the view of the curator, the tribute to Lima Barreto also can’t be considered a response to the absence of black authors last year.
She reveals that bringing the work of the writer and journalist as the main character had already been a desire of Flip since 2014 when there was an internet campaign to have Lima honored that year. “The racial issue appears, but Lima is debated and presented in all his plurality as an author,” says Joselia.
Researcher Giovana Xavier also questions Flip’s title as an activist event. “It remains a literary event and Lima Barreto is there because he fulfills all the requirements of what it is to be literary,” she concludes.
What: Release of Catálogo Intelectuais Negras Visíveis (Visible Black Women Intellectuals Catalog)
Where: Casa Amado and Saramago – Flip 2017
When: July 29, at 4:00 p.m.