Note from BW of Brazil: The three-month roller coaster ride that was the Sexo e as negas TV series finally comes to a close tonight with the airing of the final episode. The controversy surrounding the program and its representations of black women was perhaps the hottest topic in Afro-Brazilian circles for some time. And the debate about the show goes far beyond simply the images presented. The unfolding drama of this series also brought forth issues of sexism, racism, the white power structure, the battle between black elites and black activists and what could be defined as the “house negro” mentality. As the following reports are a series of developments over the past month, the material is a little dated but still very intriguing considering the battle of opinions over the show.
It was on or around November 17th when I received a post from the people responsible for a Facebook campaign calling for a boycott of the series (Boicote Nacional ao programa “Sexo e as negas” da Rede Globo). Although I had been following the debate and developments, I wasn’t quite sure what their post was protesting. After I saw a few videos that had been shared I finally understood. It appeared that someone had created a You Tube page (Falabella e as negas) with a series short videos featuring a number of Afro-Brazilian entertainers and public figures voicing their support for the TV series. If I had been a betting man, I would suppose it was probably the show’s creator, Miguel Falabella.
The famous writer/actor/director had been the target of criticism from black women activists even before the show’s debut due to the very title of the program. When the first episodes of the series were finally released, Falabella and the Globo TV network were regularly blasted with sharp, hard-hitting criticisms from black women all over the country, as well as professors and many others who lambasted the program for everything from its unnecessary sex scenes, bad writing, a failure to adequately address racism and a number of other issues. The Globo network itself even admitted that the program was disappointing. Falabella denied accusations of racism and sexism and continuously tried to reverse the criticism onto the activists.
As I watched a few of the videos of support recorded by well-known Afro-Brazilians, all I could do was shake my head. A few months back, we had already seen this tactic used as a number of prominent and not-so well known Afro-Brazilian entertainers had already offered words of support for the program. Most of them had at some time or another a connection to the Globo TV network. This latest call for support was even worse and came off as an utterly contrived attempt at public persuasion, typical of what one would expect during a presidential campaign. On the one hand, as I argued in a previous post, due to Brazil’s 350 year history of slavery and the Globo TV network’s power, these acts came across as “house slaves” who wanted to remain loyal to their “master” and not make him angry. After all, they wouldn’t want to lose favor and be thrown off of the wealthy “plantation” (Globo).
Every few days it seemed that more celebrities recorded their comments of support and after probably a week, I stopped checking it. Looking at it today, I see that long-time, well-respected actresses such as Zezé Motta, Ruth de Souza and Chica Xavier also recorded videos. As I respect these important, talented women, I will reserve any harsh criticism as we all have rights to our opinions. But something just didn’t seem right. I mean, did they REALLY like this program or was there some serious arm-twisting going on here? Somehow, as so many of them were involved in the entertainment industry, it was difficult for me to separate their opinions of the show from their own possible professional interests. But for now, read on and we’ll address that question again later on…
Miguel Falabella earns a campaign in social networks for Sexo e as negas to have a new season
Courtesy of O Globo
To ensure the strength of the series Sexo as negas in a possible second season, the author Miguel Falabella and actresses of the cast are campaigning on social networks. After having debuted amid controversy and accusations of racism, the author is publishing a series of videos in which artists comment on the content of the show and defend the initiative of the playwright. Among them, we can already see names such as well-know singers Carlinhos Brown, Alcione, Preta Gil, Tiago Abravanel, Alexandre Pires, Mart’nália, Margareth Menezes and others.
The campaign started on the initiative of the actresses themselves who created the page #euamosexoeasnegas (I Love Sexo e as negas). Lilian Waleska, who plays Lia, one of the four protagonists, believes the program has the strength to continue and that blacks need to have more roles on novelas.
“People say that the series can’t end. Miguel did a work that he can continue or not. I think it’s sad not to have been understood. Our idea is to spread the love and affection of how the show raises the self-esteem of black people. When I went to Bonsucesso (1), I saw children looking at us and dreaming of being in our place. They look at us as four princesses,” defends the actress.
The posts published on Facebook are also being targeted by some comments contrary to the chapters shown on Tuesday nights. Although most Internet users support the series and the voice of the artists, some write using hashtags like “#SexoEasNegasNãoMeRepresenta” (Sexo e as negas doesn’t represent me) and other criticisms.
Miguel had confirmed his presence on his Facebook account in an event of the Week of Black Consciousness at Zumbi dos Palmares University in São Paulo. However, a spokesperson for the university said that the author and the cast were invited, but said they could not attend the event this weekend. The first confirmation generated a threat of protest from internet users. Lilian confirmed that she still plans to go to the event.
“I’m still going back to make contact with the person who invited me. I intend to go, and if there’s someone with a contrary opinion, I’m willing to listen and respect, after all, this is what opinion is for. We must have freedom of expression,” the actress says.
Note from BW of Brazil: Below, we present a post made by the group on Facebook calling for a boycott of the program. It was this post that alerted me of the existence of these videos. The group had some pretty scathing comments for a few of the women who recorded videos in support of the show. Maybe too hot as the group would later delete the post. It’s worth a read as the group appeared to be disgusted with this cheap, almost desperate attempt to minimize the attacks on the show that were coming from all sides.
National Boycott to the show Sexo e as negas of Rede Globo
Stop everything. Yesterday there was a video of (actress) Camila Pitanga, today there is a video of (journalist) Rita Batista. I’m going to write, not because the two have ever represented me or I’ve seen them as examples to be followed.
Actress Camila Pitanga talks about the series Sexo e as negas
First, Camila Pitanga, up close, is totally embranquiçada (whitened), nor does she even seem to be part of the Pitanga family. Second, Rita Batista had already shown me who she was, participating in a biased program that tended to speak of natural cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair) as inappropriate and how chemicals are always necessary to be a “little better”. The same (Batista) was there and didn’t even open her mouth to defend cabelo crespo, natural or really bristly, black power (afro), she kept her mouth shut only laughing from the shit that they said about our hair.
Journalist Rita Batista talks about Sexo e as negas
Now she’s coming here to say that we, black women want to see ourselves on television in a shitty program like this? Use of our history, of our term of sisterhood (Ubuntu) to defend a white man, it’s really true warrior sisters, she used our UBUNTU, struggle, friendship and sisterhood to say that we ARE BEING REPRESENTED IN THIS PIECE OF SHIT PROGRAM.
Believe it or not, this PRETA DA CASA (ie, “house negra”) didn’t have the least shame to show her face to say this shit and even said that the cheers would drown out the ignorance.
How so? Using the term UBUNTU and then calling us ignorant. Where do these lunatics come from huh??? But, it’s no use wanting to use the black people allied with whites and interested in their own pockets to try to bring us down. This here is Palmares, we are at war with the white man and all who are his allies, nothing will pass: Racism, Sexism, Sexism. It’s no use joining together half the world of blacks to support falamerda (talk shit) (2).
Your days of humor are numbered, have a fever as high as you wish, the whip of their whips, still ache in our backs, however, we will not tire ourselves while we don’t defeat you all one by one, you piece of shit racists. These little videos by the pretas da casa will not topple our movement, our struggle.
Rita Batista, rinse your mouth with plenty of soap and stop using our terms of sisterhood and unity!!!
Note from BW of Brazil: The fire in the author’s words pretty much sum up how some were feeling about what they interpreted as a treasonous act. In reference to the Zulu/Xhosa term “ubuntu”, which is sometimes translated to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity” while another Brazilian woman translates it as “Eu sou porque nós somos”, or “I am because we are”, Batista used the term at the close of her commentary in the video (see above). The people of the “boicote” movement echo the sentiment of BW of Brazil a few weeks back when the first group of actors voiced their support for the show. Whether being sincere or not, the connections with the machine make them appear to be “bought and paid for.” Another respected voice, Marcos Romão of Rádio Mamaterra chimed in this way…
To the black men and women of the “Carioca Globo Imperial Palace”: You all speak of “racism and prejudice in reverse.” Like all of us, you are free to defend whomever you want, but please explain to me, why in defending what whites do, must you attack the other black men and women?
(Is it) Some childhood trauma or the necessity of pursuing a promising ascension in your professional career? #marcosromaoreflexoes
Note from BW of Brazil: If you haven’t already figured it out, I tend to believe the latter! In not only supporting the show, but feeling the need to totally discredit the voices of dissent, a few of their comments put them in the same boat with the director of Brazil’s only black college, who fired one of the school’s professors over her protest of the series. Now, the following piece seems to confirm what I thought all along although I also that there may have been more pressure coming from the top than is revealed in the article…
Falabella obliges friends to speak well of his series on Globo
Courtesy of R7
Miguel Falabella pressured his friends to record videos saying that they love the Sexo e as Negas TV series. Falabella doesn’t accept the reaction of militants from the Movimento Negro (black movement), accusing the series of racism. So he wants to win the fight using famous people in his favor to try to influence public opinion.
This is going very bad for the author.
Many of Falabella’s friends only recorded their testimonies so as to not gain the blonde’s hatred but spoke ill of him behind his back. Many people think Falabella should respect the opinions of others and not play the dirty game of trying to shove his opinion down the throats of the public with the help of celebrity testimonials.
Note from BW of Brazil: Case closed! Hunch confirmed! Here’s my thing…Using his influence and relationships with a number of celebrities to win over public support of a bad show is a punk move! If he really thought the show was so good, it would have been able to stand on its own merits without the necessity of manufacturing consent. A few weeks ago, we made a short comparison of Sexo e as negas with an American program that has caused its own share of controversy, Scandal. Although Scandal has been also been accused of exploiting stereotypes of black female sexuality, people have become nearly addicted to the show due to its plots, characters, situations and writing, all of which, according to criticisms, Sexo is lacking. Perhaps if Sexo had had a talented black woman (who could truly develop characters from a black woman’s perspective) involved in the creative process, as in Scandal, the results would have been different. And now, for the final verdict…
Sexo e as negas will not have a second season due to criticism
Author Miguel Falabella said he doesn’t want to write the series
Courtesy of Diário Gaúcho
It’s difficult for Sexo e as Negas to earn its second season. Critics of the plot judging it as being very prejudiced didn’t stop the cast from creating a campaign on social networks to support the author, Miguel Falabella.
According to the “Controle Remote” column, from the O Globo newspaper, singers Preta Gil and Alcione and actress Camila Pitanga got involved in the “Eu Amo Sexo e as Negas” (I love Sexo e as negas) campaign and recorded testimonies.
The offensive against Falabella started before the series premiere. In those days, a group called the writer “racist and neo-Nazi” at the stage door where the play O Que O Mordomo Viu (What the Butler Saw) was playing in Bahia.
“I got sick from this violence. I have no interest in writing the second season,” Miguel said to the newspaper.”
Note from BW of Brazil: Poor baby! Mr. Falabella seems like a sore loser. From what I read today, he’s already turning his focus to his new series, this time featuring blonds! You see, these are precisely the reasons so many people were calling him out in the first place. Brazil’s media is already dominated by blonds (usually fake), but even so, many Afro-Brazilians bent over backwards to give this man a pass as if he were some special friend of black people simply because he casts a few black folks in minor roles of his productions. This is part of the problem.
Collectively, the Afro-Brazilian population has no power and, as such, when a white man comes along that’s willing to throw them a few crumbs off of his table, he is adorned with “great white hope” status. If Mr. Falabella was the “great friend” of blacks as so many black Brazilian entertainers want to believe, why doesn’t he attempt to correct his mistakes and try another series with black women in lead roles? It’s simple. Black people are not his nor the rest of the media’s primary concern. Black people are treated in the media as if they were some exotic meal, a novelty act, to be shown only as comic relief, support or warm up act for the “real stars”. Falabella’s plans to move on to the next show featuring blonds is simply proof of this….
As for the Afro-Brazilians entertainers who got involved in this three-month “circus” that was Sexo e as negas, I do wonder if any of them somehow felt a sense of powerlessness in being at a white man’s disposal when they were needed. In a situation in which all of the writers, directors, producers and TV CEO’s are all white, what else could they have done but ask “how high?” when they were asked to jumped? Oh well, I’m sure another “black series” will come along when “good white folk” feel like doing something “for the negros”. But after Subúrbia and now Sexo e as negas, I won’t be holding my breath!
1. Bonsucesso is a neighborhood in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a population of about 18,000. The name, formerly also spelt Bomsucesso, may be translated with “good luck.” Source
2. Here the writer makes a play on the last name of the series creator Falabella, which translated could mean “speak beautiful”. In Portuguese, the term “merda” means “shit”, this the translation of “falamerda” would mean “speak/talk shit.”