Selection was made on the Noite da Beleza Negra (Night of Black Beauty) on Saturday (12), in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil’s northeast). Daiana Ribeiro dos Santos is the new representative of Ilê Aiyê.
Dancer Daiana dos Santos Ribeiro, 30, was elected Deusa do Ébano (Ebony Goddess) on Saturday night (12) during the Noite da Beleza Negra (Night of the Black Beauty), put on by the bloco afro Ilê Aiyê, in the Liberdade neighborhood of Salvador. She will represent the bloco, which is one of the most traditional of Bahia’s capital city in the upcoming Carnaval 2013. The choice came during the Ilê event in Senzala do Barro Preto, that was animated by singers Sandra de Sá of Rio de Janeiro and Claudya Costta (of Bahia), besides Ilê Aiyê itself.
The new Deusa do Ébano competed for the title with 12 other candidates. “I’m ecstatic, I’m not believing this is happening,” she said. Second place went to executive secretary Daniele Nobre, and in third place was dancer Cátia Cilene de Castro.
Besides being prominently featured throughout Carnival, Daiana will be Ilê’s representative in events, trips and tours in and outside Brazil. The 13 finalists were defined after a series of elimination rounds. The final vote was made by jurors who are members of Ilê and invited civil society.
Bloco afro Ilê Aiyê will honor Equatorial Guinea as their theme of Carnival 2013. The direction of the bloco decided to honor the country in recognition of the African relationship with Brazilian culture. The bloco’s president, Antonio Carlos Vovô, was honored in the country in May 2012.
Known as the “most beautiful of the beautiful”, the Ilê Aiyê was born in the Curuzu area of the Liberdade neighborhood in Salvador (in 1974). The bloco comes out every year from the neighborhood on the Saturday of Carnival, fulfilling a real ritual that attracts tourists and citizens of Bahia.
In Carnival of 2012 the bloco had as its theme “Negros do Sul – Lá também tem (Black of the South – There are also (blacks) there” honoring the black population living in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, which are the states in southern Brazil that have the largest percentages of citizens who consider themselves to be white (71-86%). States in southern Brazil are considered the whiter, more European part of the country whereas northeastern states, particularly Bahia, are considered the blacker, more African states.