Note from BW of Brazil: Brazil’s top television network, Rede Globo, is South America’s largest commercial television network and the second largest TV network in anual revenue worldwide just behind the American network ABC. Globo is also the largest producer of novelas, or soap operas. The channel is seen worldwide being broadcast in 190 countries around the world. Among those countries are those sharing a history of Portuguese colonization and also the Portuguese language, Angola and Mozambique. We should also remember that Angola was a major source of the 4-5 million Africans brought to Brazil to work as slaves for nearly four centuries and is thus the origin of a large part of the country’s Afro-Brazilian population.
So considering Globo’s influence on such a “Globo” level, it was big news when two of its most successful black actors, the husband and wife duo of Lázaro Ramos and Taís Araújo traveled with the show’s prodution team to Luanda, Angola, to record an episode of their hit TV series, Mister Brau. Globo TV by far continues to maintain its dominance in the Brazilian television market according to IBOPE (Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics) ratings, earning 13.6 points, which is more than the combined numbers of its two closest competitors, SBT TV which earned 6.0 points, and Record TV coming in at 5.2.
Although its great to see arguably Brazil’s top black actor and his top black actress wife connecting with their roots in the African nation that has had an enormous influence on Brazilian history and culture, one has to keep in mind the images that Globo is exporting to Africa. The black presence on Globo TV is as sorely lacking as it is at the network’s rival channels and besides the Mister Brau program, it remains difficult to find Afro-Brazilians appearing in large numbers and outside of the stereotypical roles that they usually fill in these productions.
The appearance of Ramos and Araújo in Angola makes me want to re-visit the question I asked almost exactly five years ago when they sent another Afro-Brazilian actress, Sheron Menezes, to the African nation as a sort of promotional appearance: is this the network’s way of hiding its lack of diversity? Well, if anyone watches Globo for any amount of time, they will perceive that the vast under-representation of Afro-Brazilians can’t be hidden. Let’s not forget that Mozambican novelist Paulina Chiziane’s view of Brazil in terms of racial representation on the small screen. This is an excerpt from the April 20102 BW of Brazil article featuring the writer:
“’For us, Mozambicans, Brazil’s image is that of a white country, or at best, mixed. The only successful black Brazilian that we recognize as such is (soccer legend) Pelé. In soap operas, which are responsible for defining the image we have of Brazil, we only see blacks as porters or as domestic servants. At the top [of the social representation] are whites. This is the image that Brazil is selling to the world’, criticized the author, noting that these representations help to perpetuate racial and social inequalities that exist in her country.”
Fast forward six years and the network does have a TV series with a strong black presence, but in terms of its overall representation, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And after the cast of Mister Brau returned to Brazil after they finished filming in Africa, I’m quite sure the Angolan people picked up on this as well.
Mister Brau actors record episodes in Angola
The recordings of Mister Brau’s fourth season are in full swing. The actors Lázaro Ramos, Tais Araújo and Luis Miranda landed in Angola with the aim of recording some of the new episodes that can be seen by the public on Rede Globo TV screens in April.
Accustomed to a career full of successes and awards, Brau (Lázaro Ramos) will meet failure for the first time and will lose his musical identity in the new season of the series, at the same time that his wife, Michele (Tais Araújo) will become an internationally acclaimed and critically acclaimed singer.
Decided to resume his success, Brau will request shelter for Carmo (Cacau Protásio), the sister of Lima (Luis Miranda), and a resident of the Madureira neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. There, the singer will try to adapt to the musical genres that they play on the popular radio stations, and will sing even sertanejo, until deciding to travel with Michele to Angola.
In Africa, he will come into contact with his roots, and recover his personal and artistic identity. Here are some of the photos posted by the actors in their social networks:
In Africa, he will come in contact with his roots and recuperate his personal and artistic identity. Angolan singer Titica (who has a recent partnership with BaianaSystem in the song Capim Guiné) participates in the one of the scenes. On Instagram, she shares a video of the behind the scenes and gives thanks to the team for the invitation.
The episode in question will portray the tour of Mister Brau in Angola, where he is very dear and beloved due to the hit song “Humbi Humbi”, which is properly a declaration of love and affection that he made for the Angolan people.
Four days of work in the Angolan capital were scheduled under the command of director Flávia Lacerda and on his first day in the country, Mr. Brau will be well received by some Angolan artists. Some of those artists include as Yuri da Cunha, Maya Zuda, Mestre Dangui, Frecis Boy, DJ Falcão, Titica, Pérola, MC K, The Twins, Elenco da Paz, Presidente Gasolina e Príncipe Ouro Negro, Cabo Snoop, and also by Daniel Nascimento.
Following the events, Mister Brau and Michele will star in some shows in some suburban areas of the country, among them Rocha Pinto and Sambizanga. Another part of the series was recorded in one of the Beauty Salons installed in the Cassenda, where Taís Araújo countered with Titica, and also in the Museu da Escravatura (Museum of Slavery).
In an exclusive interview with AngoRussia, Lázaro Ramos mentioned how grateful he is for receiving full support from Angolan artists and also the people themselves, noting that it makes sense to honor Angola in the Mister Brau series, because of his identifying very much with the culture of the country and not only that.
“Very exciting, it was lovely to see the generosity of all the artists who came together to make this great show, which is a show that we came to do in Angola and we end up being honored also because when these great stars come together with us they tell this story that is of love and affection, we had to thank every artist that was there,” said Lázaro Ramos.
It is worth mentioning that the story of the Mister Brau series revolves around a popular singer, “Mister Brau” (Lázaro Ramos), married to “Michele” (Taís Araújo), she also being a businesswoman and choreographer, super controlling with her husband following the stanza the saying “por trás de um grande homem tem uma grande mulher” (behind every great man there’s a great woman).
Mister Brau and Michele also value what is priceless: friendship. He remains faithful to Lima (Luis Miranda), his partner and adviser from the beginning of his career, and Michele relies on Gomes (Kiko Mascarenhas), her personal advisor, to make any decision.