In its 9th edition, Festival de Arte Negra, Black Arts Festival, brings together artistic and cultural actions to highlight the empowerment of black women


Note from BW of Brazil: Well, here’s another good reason for me to visit one of my favorite cities in Brazil, Belo Horizonte. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a number of great festivals devoted to cultura negra (black culture) spring up in various cities. Feira Preta in São Paulo was one of the first, if THE first, and the most well-known. But we’ve also see Festival Latinidades in the nation’s capital city of Brasília, the Encrespa Geral in various cities as well as a number of smaller venues. The FAN expo in BH has been steadily growing for a number of years and this year’s edition looks to be the most exciting yet! I’m definitely going to be needing to make plans to return to BH but until then, today’s feature gives us a little insight into FAN 2017. 


The 9th FAN-BH – Festival de Arte Negra, Black Arts Festival, of Belo Horizonte – October 15-22

In its 9th edition, the 22-year-old FAN-BH occupies spaces in the city with free programming

Ilu Obá de Min
Ilu Obá de Min

Put on by the Municipality of Belo Horizonte, through the Municipal Cultural Foundation, the Festival de Arte Negra, (FAN or Black Arts Festival) – FAN-BH 2017 takes place from October 15 to 22. The theme of the 2017 edition is FAN Mulher (woman) and will have the leading role of mulheres negras (black women) as the central axis. The 120 years of Belo Horizonte and the cultural and political initiatives of valorization of the city will be celebrated, with attention to the dimension of the genre. FAN-BH intends to bring together various artistic and cultural actions in order to highlight the empowerment of black women in various parts of the world, focusing on the African continent, Brazil and Belo Horizonte. This is also the third year of the UN International Decade of Afro-descendants.

Karol Conka
Rapper Karol Conka

In the 9th FAN-BH, the public will be able to check out approximately 100 attractions, among them nationally renowned artists such as Zezé Motta, Karol Conka and Ellen Oléria.

Joaquina Maria da Conceição, better known as Joaquina Lapinha
Joaquina Maria da Conceição, better known as Joaquina Lapinha

Official opening

In this edition, Joaquina Maria da Conceição da Lapinha, the first Brazilian black classical singer – one of whom is recorded, is honored. According to the curator of the FAN-BH, Luciana Gomes (DJ Black Josie), in 1795, Lapinha worked outside the country in Portugal, from the turn of the eighteenth century to the nineteenth. The musical context of the time followed the Roman tradition and did not allow the participation of women. Joaquina’s performance in interpreting renowned composers, according to the curator, appears in records of Lisbon and Porto newspapers, and in reports from 1795 to 1796, and is impressive.

“Blacks not only participated in Brazilian colonial music, they were protagonists. It is in this context that we honor Lapinha. The women were not allowed to sing in theaters, but when this authorization was granted, blacks were involved in the process and, it seems, the first woman in technical conditions to perform in these places was Joaquina Maria da Conceição,” she concludes. In her honor, concerts will be held at the Music Conservatory of UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and at the Pampulha Art Museum.

In a dialogue with Lapinha’s trajectory and highlighting the contribuição do povo negro (contribution of black people) to classical music, the official opening of the FAN-BH 2017 takes place with the presentation of Áreas da Ópera Porgy and Bess (George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Opera Areas) on October 15 at 9:30 am, in the Américo Renné Giannetti Municipal Park. A partnership between the Government of the State of Minas Gerais, through the Clóvis Salgado Foundation, and the Municipal Foundation of Culture. The jazz orchestra, from 1935, was performed with a cast consisting solely of black singers with classical background. A work admired for the mixture of European orchestral techniques with the jazz and folk styles, transiting between the erudite and the popular.

DJ Black Josie, one of FAN’s curators

Curator Luciana Gomes (DJ Black Josie), researcher and renowned DJ of the BH musical scene, presents names of black music of all rhythms, points out that the artists chosen for this edition of FAN-BH “represent generations, distinct styles of Brazilian music, with a slant that privileges the presence and strength of women in the spaces, not only of music, but of art as a whole.”

Also included in the musical program are Cuban Teresa Morales, Nilze Carvalho, Guinean Fanta Kanote, as well as performers on the beautiful horizontine (Belo Horizonte) scene such as Tamara Franklin, Cromossomo Africano and Bala da Palavra, among others.

Tamara Franklin
Rapper Tamara Franklin

FAN Women 2017

Rosália Diogo – FAN-BH coordinator and counselor at the Municipal Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Belo Horizonte, highlights: “Women do not form a homogeneous group. Each woman brings together different identities, different cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, creeds, colors and other characteristics. When differences are transformed into inequalities, specific public policies for the promotion of equal rights, visibility, and confronting inequalities, especially regarding the condition of the black woman as a social and political subject, become necessary.”

Photo- Thainá Nogueira
Photo: Thainá Nogueira

Conversation tables – dialogues and training

The historic and current challenges facing black women in Brazil, as well as their achievements against the current scenario of the country, will be the focus of the debates during the 9th FAN-BH. In order to discuss the issues, several tables are planned and will be attended by national and local personalities, such as Alexandra Loras, Eliane Dias, Elisa Lucinda, Áurea Carolina, Vanessa Beco, Leda Maria Martins, Ana Maria Gonçalves, Maria Flor Guerreira – Pataxó, among others. Highlights of the CONVERSA RODA: O protagonismo da mulher negra no Brasil (The leading role of black women in Brazil) by Sesc (see note), cultural partner of FAN-BH 2017. In addition to the historical-cultural approach, the objective is for the meeting to be a celebration of the representation of black women in the country. On the occasion, the challenges, the stories of struggles, the current moment of Brazil, the strength and the feminine empowerment will be approached.

The curators of FAN


Reinforcing the female-black role, the curatorial team has the names of women linked to cultural production and black militancy in Belo Horizonte. The curators of FAN-BH 2017 are: Carlandreia Ribeiro, actress and playwright, with extensive experience in the black scene of the city; Luciana Gomes (DJ Black Josie), renowned DJ of the BH musical scene, with a background in classical music; Karu Torres, researcher of arts and black culture, as well as producer of previous editions of FAN-BH.

O Amargo Fruto – A vida de Billie Holiday da atriz Lilian Valeska_-_Foto_Andrea_Rocha
O Amargo Fruto – A vida de Billie Holiday by actress Lilian Valeska


Among the theatrical performances that are part of the FAN-BH 2017 are the award-winning Vaga Carne, by Grace Passô, actress, director and playwright of Minas, Eras, from the Coletivo Negras Autoras (Collective Black Women Authors; Cheiro de Feijoada (Smell of Feijoada) by Iléa Ferraz; O Amargo Fruto – A vida de Billie Holiday (The Bitter Fruit – The Life of Billie Holiday) by actress Lilian Valeska; and Lembrança de um Corpo Ancestral (Remembrance of an Ancestral Body), by Cia Motumbá.

Premiado Vaga Carne de Grace Passô – atriz, diretora e dramaturga mineira
Vaga Carne, by Grace Passô

The theatrical repertoire was thought to reinforce the presence of young dramaturgies that reflect the voice of the black woman, her longings and occupied spaces. The dramaturgies present a range of issues involving the black female universe in the contemporary Brazilian Afro scene.

Cheiro de Feijoada de Iléa Ferraz_-_Foto_Margareth_Leite_2
Cheiro de Feijoada (Smell of Feijoada) by Iléa Ferraz

Mostra Cinema Negra (Showing of Black Cinema)

The 9th FAN-BH film show will occupy the MIS Cine Santa Tereza with a screening of films that talk about the black woman or that were directed by black women. The curatorship sought to promote pluralism, diversity and cultural equity within the national audiovisual scene. The public will be able to watch documentaries, full length, and shorts of Brazilian fiction, besides participating in the circles of conversation with the directors.


The visual and plastic arts are especially highlighted in this edition of FAN-BH with the participation of Maria Rosa, Leon Passos, Lori Figueiró and Simone Moura. Through photography, sculptures, panels and objects, the artists will put Afro-Brazilian memory under discussion, paying homage to important characters and reflecting on the territories now occupied by black peoples.

The event also promotes actions that marked the previous editions such as Ubuntu – Meeting of Religious Diversity, Ojá – Exchange of Knowledge and Fanzinho with programming dedicated to children and adolescents, as well as exhibitions, conversation circles, presentations of the performing arts, cinema and literature shows.

Ubuntu – Meeting of Religious Diversity

A symbolic and traditional moment of the FAN-BH, the “Ubuntu – Encontro da Diversidade Religiosa (Ubuntu – Meeting of Religious Diversity), brings together groups of different religions linked to African, Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim and Jewish religions. The word Ubuntu is of African origin and the meaning can be summed up as “I am who I am because we are all us”. The proposal of the meeting is precisely the strengthening of religious diversity (see note one), establishing the notion of union of differences, harmony between peoples and beliefs.

Considered one of the most important events in the segment outside the African continent, FAN-BH is carried out by the Municipality of Belo Horizonte, through the Municipal Cultural Foundation, and cultural partnership of SESC and the State Government, through the Clóvis Salgado Foundation. The educational actions are carried out jointly with the Municipal Department of Education (SMED).

For the Secretary of Culture of Belo Horizonte, Juca Ferreira, FAN-BH is already an integral part of the artistic history of this city. “This is easily evident after more than twenty years of existence. Its evolution towards the meeting of several manifestations of African matrix and with so much variety is, in itself, an exposition of the cultural richness that surrounds us in this city, a reaffirmation of its place in the Afro-American, Mineiro (of Minas Gerais) and Brazilian world. “

Romulo Avelar, president of the Municipal Foundation of Culture, evaluates the event as essential in the scenario of Belo Horizonte. “FAN not only puts into focus on artistic expressions of the culture of African matrix, but also raises necessary reflections on its presence and its space in the Brazilian society.”

The program of the festival can be checked on the website:

Dates: October 15-22, 2017


Source: AgendaBH, Catraca Livre, FAN BH


  1. With ongoing and recent attacks on Afro-Brazilian religions, this cannot be stressed enough.
About Marques Travae 2895 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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