Note from BW of Brazil: Last Sunday was just a typical Sunday for this writer; nothing particularly special. And although I am for the most part not a fan of most Brazilian television programming, I spent a little time channel surfing in search of something that would hold my interest for more than a few minutes (a search that’s usually in vain). Of course millions of people tune in to top networks such as Globo, Record, SBT and Bandeirantes daily to get their fix of novelas (soap operas), futebol and variety shows. I’m just not much of a fan of any of these types of programs. Variety shows such Domingão do Faustão, Eliana and A Hora do Faro just don’t do it for me. For me, these programs are pretty cheesy and formulaic but also have their programmed tear-jerking moments that are meant to pull on the heart strings of the audience, the performer or both. Please! Isn’t there anything better on? (Not really)
But as luck would have it, I happened to flip through this past Sunday’s edition of the A Hora do Faro program at exactly the right time. As Brazilian TV programming simply doesn’t feature black Brazilians as protagonists very often, when I saw Thalita Pertuzatti appear on the program, I had to stop for at least a few moments. Yes, she is a black woman (which is reason enough to pay attention), but that’s not what made me stop flipping the channels. It was her voice! The music of Whitney Houston, particularly her blockbuster ballads, is as popular in Brazil as any other country, and hearing this woman belt out “I Have Nothing” on that stage was one of those moments when you just freeze, fixated with what you’re watching.
Whitney’s dramatic voice, combined with the theatrical music arrangements of her biggest hits, is capable of sending the proverbial chill down the spine of anyone who appreciates music. One of the best examples is that build up in her classic “I Have Nothing”, at the 3:40 mark…”Don’t….make… me close one more door….”. The sheer genius of an artist at the peak of her powers, after years of dedicated rehearsal perfecting her craft and knowing full well how to build up an audience and bring it to emotional release. Watching Thalita’s performance reminded me once again how gifted Whitney was. Although the legendary voice would falter in following years, one need only listen to her mid-80s to early 90s recordings to remember what a treasure she really was.
Over the years I’ve heard numerous black Brazilian women who have voices that one would think that would lead them to super-stardom, but as we’ve touched on in past articles, Brazil prefers to see black women reserved to singing samba while leaving mainstream pop super-stardom to whiter looking women; particularly during Carnaval, the one time of year when Afro-Brazilians are allowed and expected to shine. Whitney Houston’s death and the obstruction of a black Brazilian female pop superstar was the topic of a post four years ago and still relevant as more and more black (and even non black) Brazilians continue to ask questions such as “why is there no Brazilian Beyoncé?” or “why has there never been a Brazilian Nina Simone?”
The answer is actually quite simple. Brazil reserves a “place” for black Brazilians. They can sing samba. They can sweep the streets. They can score goals (but not be a goalie). They can play the “crazy nigger” stereotype. They can cook and they can clean or be the sexy, gyrating mulata. But for pop music super-stardom, elite jobs, television and its hosts, government and many other areas of prominence, they are deemed “out of place”.
In today’s piece, we find a poor black woman from Rio who has a vocal capability that is equal to that of one of America’s greatest singers, who was also a black woman. So I ask, with such an obvious talent being presented in front of the Brazilian people, will the ‘dream makers’ step forward and give this woman the opportunity, investment, songwriters, producers and promotion that will help her live up to her billing as the “Brazilian Whitney Houston”? Is it even possible? Or will she suffer due to her physical attributes that Brazil as a whole is known to reject? Is she too dark to ‘pass’ as in the case of singer Anitta? Will she be rejected because of her hair because Brazilians are notorious for rejecting cabelo crespo (kinky/curly) or duro (hard) hair? Or will she need to subject herself to various cosmetic surgery procedures to whiten herself or make herself more “acceptable” (as we’ve seen with numerous singers including Negra Li, Anitta, Tati Quebra Barraco, Valesca Popozuda)?
At moments of her renditions of pop classics, Thalita Pertuzatti sounds amazingly like the late, great Whitney Houston. A black woman of poor origins, I would LOVE to see her get all of the support she needs to become a pop princess, but it will be interesting to see what happens in her pursuit of a music career. As we’ve seen time and time again, Brazil loves to point to the United States as the truly racist country, but with decades of hugely successful black female singers in that country’s history, I believe Thalita’s chances for pop stardom would be much greater in the US, but let’s wait and see if Brazil takes up the challenge.
Hailed as the “Brazilian Whitney Houston”, singer Thalita Pertuzatti thrills audiences with a four show salute to the legend in São Paulo and Rio. But will Brazil ever promote a black female singer to superstar status?
With information from Gente, Estadão, Theatro Net Rio, Blasting News
On the Sunday afternoon Record TV program A Hora do Faro, which aired on Sunday (10), the story of the singer Thalita Pertuzatti was featured. About a month ago, host Rodrigo Faro received tickets to attend the show Uma Saudação a Whitney Houston in São Paulo, in which she was the star, and became interested in the singer’s work.
Thalita is from a simple family from Rio de Janeiro, has sold empadinhas to help the family in the household budget and as a child always liked to sing, in particular songs of Whitney Houston, of whom she is a fan.
The young woman has a voice very similar to the singer, making it difficult to differentiate which one is singing, Whitney or Thalita, yet, Thalita, has failed to see her work recognized, even thinking of giving up singing.
But fate tried cross her path with Rafael Mello, a dancer, who, like her, also had a dream of honoring Whitney, who then invested all his savings for 10 years into the show Uma Saudação. Mello, who worked on ships, put together R$50,000 but the money was only enough to finance the artist’s four shows, two in São Paulo and two in Rio de Janeiro. But he didn’t give up, he inviting Rodrigo Faro to watch it, leaving the host thrilled at hearing Thalita.
Created and directed by Mello, who is trained in dance, and spent his last seven years touring with shows like West Side Story, Saturday Night Fever and Hair Spray, passing through New York, Australia, London and Singapore. The choreography will be the responsibility of the American choreographer Nathan Coder, trained in Musical Theater at Rutgers in the United States. The scenario will have led screens and costumes based on the originals that marked Whitney Houston’s career.
After the great success of her performances in March, Thalita returns to Theatro Net Rio to present Uma Saudação. The next presentation will be on April 19th at 9pm.
Thalita Pertuzzatti – A Salute to Whitney Houston, Part 1
Pertuzatti, owner of a beautiful and powerful voice, was the winner of Raul Gil program and participated in major shows like The Voice Brasil, Astros and Concurso Net, with Maria Gadú. The show, which promises to take fans back in time, will have songs from the 1980s until the last days of Whitney Houston on stage. Accompanied by five musicians, eight dancers and three background singers for an hour and a half show, the singer promises to sing unforgettable hits such as “I Will Always Love You”, theme of the movie The Bodyguard (1992, released as O Guarda Costas in Brazil), “I Have Nothing”, “Run To You”, “I Am Every Woman,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Saving All My Love For You” and “I Look To You.”
Thalita Pertuzatti, on the ‘A Hora do Faro’ show
During the show there will be a session dedicated solely to films in which Whitney Houston starred such as “Speaking of Love,” “Cinderella,” “An Angel In My Life and the unforgettable The Bodyguard, which was the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.
Thalita Pertuzzatti – “Quando Fui Chuva”
On Sunday’s episode of Faro, the singer was invited, by the program to have an audition, of which she was rejected, without knowing that it was all a farce concocted by Rodrigo Faro and Rafael to surprise Thalita. The host took her to the program, where she revealed his talent to all of Brazil, thrilling the public with her renditions of “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing”. She also won cash prizes of program sponsors, but the surprise was not over, Roberto Justus, entrepreneur and TV host, called Rodrigo, and invited her to sing on his program that will debut in April. This was another dream realized by the A Hora Do Faro program. We believe that with all the talent that Thalita has, many doors will open for her, for sure this is just the beginning of a brilliant career of great success.