Luana Genót (both photos), who besides being a model, studies advertising at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio (PUC), described her difficulties in reach the runway: “They often say to me, ‘What are we going to do with your hair?’ They put my makeup on last and so that the brush doesn’t get stained with very dark tones.”
“They also say that the winter collection is for whites in Europe, or even that blacks have a lot of hips and buttocks. It amazes me to see that in Brazil, where half the population is descended from African slaves, there is so little space for us”, she added.
The young woman, who argues that the runway should show the miscegenation that everyone sees on the streets of Brazil, organized in November at her university, during the Week of Black Consciousness, a discussion of ethnic diversity in the fashion world.
Sergio Mattos, director of the agency 40 Graus Models, acknowledged in a statement to the newspaper O Globo this week that “the fashion weeks are cruel to the models of Rio that have more curves and tanned skin.”
The blue-eyed blonde Bruna Loureiro was discarded from a catwalk because of her skin being “very golden when the brand of clothing preferred the skins that are very, very white.”
The debate about quotas was featured in the new edition of the popular reality show “Big Brother Brazil” on Wednesday. Asked about the need for quotas, Daniel Chaniz, the only black person among the twelve participants and a professional model, said that he was “against” them, a minority among blacks, but defended by people who say these quotas “aggravate racism.”
“There should be no quotas in this sector. We are all alike, under the skin we all have red blood,” he said.
Chaniz’s comments were blasted in various comments sections online by many black Brazilians and members of the Movimento Negro. Conservatives of Brazil’s right, certain academics and even Brazil’s most popular television network, O Globo, have been ruthless in their attempts to undermine and totally reverse any system of quotas in Latin America’s largest country. For example, over the past several years, one of the country’s leading geneticists has been using his DNA analysis of Brazil’s population in order to show that quotas based on race make no sense in Brazil, as most of the population is of varying degrees of mixed race.
The comment by Chaniz is also not the first time that the Globo TV has used a character or actor in one of its programs to promote the views of the network. In 2008, a character on a popular Globo soap opera portrayed by an Afro-Brazilian actress was shown reading a copy of the book Não Somos Racistas (We Are Not Racists), written by Ali Kamel, the director of journalism at the television giant.
I will say this. The existence of racism has been well documented in Brazil for a number of years in Brazilian, American and European academia. This blog offers only a small sample of the daily experiences of racial discrimination in the lives of black Brazilians. And if Brazil is to live up to the myth of “racial democracy” that it has promoted since the 1930s, it could start by assuring that it’s runway models don’t all look as if they came directly from Europe.
* – The Globo Network (Rede Globo) is the top television network in Brazil, the fourth-largest public TV commercial network in the world and one of the largest producers of soap operas.
Source: Black Women of Brazil