Note from BW of Brazil: I must admit that even up to as recent as last year, I really didn’t know who the dancer/singer Inês Brasil even was. I had seen photos of her circulating on the internet in certain memes that people had created, usually featuring the artist posing in some overtly sexual manner along with some sexually charged comment. I always thought to myself, “who is this person?” Fast forward to January of this year and an internet rumor that had American superstar Beyoncé starring in a film about Sarah Baartman, known as the “Venus Hottentot”, a black woman who had been paraded around as a sort of sexual freak-show for European audiences in the 19th century.
Needless, anything Ms. Knowles-Carter does or is rumored to be doing catches fire on the internet and provokes a gamut of opinions. (As we will see in future posts, Beyoncé’s recent Super Bowl performance was the topic of numerous Brazil-based online posts). As it turned out, the star wasn’t starring in such a film after all, but the igniting of the rumor due to the singer’s connection to the story of extreme exploitation of another black woman provoked another intriguing comparison with the image and antics of Inês Brasil.
As this writer did a little research on Inês, I noted how in nearly all of the photos of the artist online, she appeared in some sexually-provocative manner. As many black Brazilian women having been questioning and calling for the end of the Globeleza figure in recent years, the images made me once again wonder why it always seemed that a black woman had to use her sexuality in order to earn a living. It again speaks to the image and the positions made available for black women who want to succeed in entertainment.
Inês is not the first and surely won’t be the last as images such as those of the Globeleza, the Sargentelli Mulatas, Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Kim and Beyoncé herself serve as modern-day examples of attractive black women “using what they got to get ahead.” Before we introduce today’s analysis by blogger Luka, we thought it would necessary to share a little info about Inês to those who may have never heard of her. The piece below is taken from a Wikipedia entry.
Inês Tânia Lima da Silva (Rio de Janeiro, October 25, 1969), better known by the stage name Inês Brasil, is a Brazilian singer, dancer and internet celebrity. She became nationally known after several videos of a humorist nature were posted on her social networks.
In 2015, she released her first studio album, Make Love, which mixes original compositions and re-workings of classics of Brazilian Popular Music.
Inês began her career at age 22 in Sargentelli’s Oba-Oba spectaculars as one of the “Mulatas”. Her father was a singer and composer of the Quilombo dos Palmares Samba School and along with her mother and her nine brothers and sisters, had a childhood focused on religion. She first sang in church and at 22 became a samba teacher in a in a Rio de Janeiro school. It was there that she met her former husband, who helped the singer’s career, started at 27, and took her to Europe. He, director of photography on a German television network, produced Inês’s videos and was the one who introduced her to bossa nova.
2012-present: Fame and Make Love
A friend of Inês suggested that she send a subscription video to Globo TV reality show, Big Brother Brasil, with which she agreed and sent videos for five years, from 2009 to 2013. In 2013, her entry went viral on the internet, leading her to fame.
Since then, several parodies of her video have been created, such as a remix of the song “Scream & Shout” by American singer Will.I.Am featuring Britney Spears, with lyrics by Inês Brasil added to the song. The remix is unofficial, but racked up several views, which encouraged people to make new adaptations. Soon after it was possible to find numerous remixes with tracks from other artists such as Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, and Inês was using the remixes in her shows. Since then, Inês has participated in some television shows such TV Fama, Superpop and Agora É Tarde. She was also the target of a prank on the Domingo Legal program legal in the Telegram Legal piece at the request of her daughter Monique Karp.
On March 17, 2015, Inês Brasil released her first studio album, Make Love was released on the iTunes digital platform, Google Play and in the Spotify streaming media services, Apple Music and Tidal, with the first single also titled “Make Love” whose video reached 1 million views on YouTube. On December 1, 2015, fans created a great wave on the page of the most important music award: the Grammy Awards. It all started when the official event page on Facebook questioned the public about who should be among the nominees. Fans of the artist cried out, “Inês Brasil best be nominated”. The mobilization of fans came to make the organization of the Grammies block Brazilians from the voting site for award nominations.
Personal life and controversies
Inês Brasil began a life in prostitution due to financial problems in her family, an activity she maintained for eight years. She has eight siblings and two daughters, Monique Lima Karp, who is also her manager, and Julia. Agnes plays the piano and is fluent in German, having lived in Germany for eighteen years, along with her husband Christian Karp who removed from her prostitution.
In an interview with Yahoo in 2013, Inês reveals that she would participate in pornographic films. She has 900ml of silicone in each breast. In her You Tube account, Inês Brasil spoke on controversial topics such as racism against futebol player Aranha, gave opinions and her position on deputy and pastor Marco Feliciano, and the death of politician Eduardo Campo.
Sabrina Boing Boing
In 2013, Inês was involved in an dispute with Sabrina Boing Boing, after disagreements arising from a report in which the two were protagonists. Inês spoke out publicly in her YouTube channel to criticize the attitude of the model. The confusion would have been due, according to Inês, in an interview with TV Fama that she was taking topless photos with her fans when Sabrina proposed that they take pictures with their breasts exposed together and Inês refused.
In May 2015, Inês Brasil figured into a sex scandal similar to the case of sensual videos and pictures leaked of celebrities in 2014, known as comofappening. The singer said she didn’t have involvement in the dissemination of the material. Diego, the guy who accompanied Inês in Brazil, had asked to record her, but would not disclose, however, how the video was released. Diego ruled that he had lost his cell phone and that it wasn’t he reported who divulged it.
Sarah Baartman and Inês Brasil: The body of black women exposed for enjoyment
Racism and sexism have been working for centuries in order to dehumanize and objectify nonwhite, thus denying the right itself
For some time the way that Inês Brasil has been exposed has bothered me a lot, there are elements in that this process happens that refer to me the way that Sarah Baartman was exposed and exploited by Europe. This week circulated through social networks a text criticizing those who are fans of the artist (I can’t remember the name of the author of the text who sent the link to me here), there are several issues in the text that for me are expendable, but he hit a key highlighted in a red light, in the same week in which Djamila Ribeiro posted about the controversy of singer Beyoncé playing the role of Sarah Baartman in a movie.
Both flashed a red light at me on how Inês Brasil ends up symbolizing the process of the hyper-sexualization of the black Brazilian woman in a similar way to what happened with Baartman in the nineteenth century. A striking representation of how we black women and our bodies are expropriated as any other object in the capitalist, racist and patriarchal society in which we live. We are still outcasts of contemporary society.
Sarah Baartman was a woman of the Khoi people, native of what is now South Africa. Baartman was a maid on a Dutch farm in Cape Town and was taken by the brother of her boss to London in order to display her as a wild aberration throughout Europe because of her “unusual” body. Those responsible for the displaying of Sarah let visitors touch her buttocks if they paid, throughout her life this woman was the victim of curiosity and expropriation on the part of Europeans. During the process run in the Netherlands, Baartman testified that she didn’t feel she was a victim of this display process and knew of her right to half the profits of the exhibits. Sometime later Baartman was sold to a Frenchman who continued the process of operating the display of her “bizarre” body and deepening the dehumanization of this woman.
The narratives drawn from the study of Sarah contributed to the construction of the representation of black people as inferior, irrational, animalistic and hyper-sexualized individuals, characteristics that still remain in the Western imagination. Even after her death, Sarah’s body remained exposed in courses and lectures, and not by chance, her genitalia – that she let be never seen in life – was made available alongside the brains of “great French men,” such as Descartes in the Museu do Homem (Museum of Man) in Paris, in a clear demonstration of the contrast between the rational (male and white) and the sexual (female and black).
Inês Brasil reminds me much of Sarah Baartman, not only her, but mainly her. Inês Brasil also reminds me Ourika and other exploited black women, renegaded and expropriated in the colonial history of Europe. Ourika was sold to a French madame who raised her within European and white customs. Ourika represents not only the exhibition of the body of the black woman for the pleasure and curiosity of whites, but also the most basic sense of the loneliness of the black woman. Today in our country that stereotype is well represented by Inês Brasil, people think it’s normal using her body as they see fit, thereby reaffirming the hyper-sexualization and objectification historically constructed around black women (it is currently necessary to point out that this process also affects the trans women).
The representation of black women of society remains largely the same, obviously with the passage of time there was a chipping away of this process of objectification and exotification of our bodies. Baartman believed herself benefitting from the form of exploitation to which she was submitted, she would take part in the collective groping of her ass on display, and only didn’t allow her genitals to be exposed. In life she never let that part of her body be exposed, but in dying not even this desire was respected and Sarah for a long time was exposed in Paris until having her body sent to South Africa at the request of Mandela in the early twenty-first century.
Yes, when I see the pictures of Inês Brasil’s fans with her I remember the story of Baartman, she there receiving those who came to see her, not recognizing her as a human-being, but an exotic object of advantageous ass and tits and that are available to be touched, probed and licked by others just to give pleasure to others. One of the greatest examples of how she is exploited in order to reaffirm her status as different from white people are the images of a birthday party of designer Sérgio K in 2014 in which Inês Brasil was the only woman in a cage, one of the presentations that most reminded me of how black women were exploited and exposed as bestialities in Europe.
Making a brief study of news in the press about Inês Brasil we see that she is the highlight of the exotic, the bizarre, of a person that must be dehumanized and should not be taken seriously because of her body. Just remember the episode of the sextape in which a fan leaked a video of Inês Brasil having sex without any respect to her privacy, exposing her as a trophy to be disputed.
It’s necessary that we think in a complete way about the issues involving us. Acceptance by means of hypersexualization, objectification and exotification is not inclusion. There’s no way to be because part of the assumption that the other is an object to be consumed even if it refers to social processes constructed by racism and sexism in society. What is strange and abhorrent turns us into caricatures and misappropriated of oneself. Baartman, Ourika and Inês Brazil are just some of the examples that can be given of this process, but we can also realize this in a more glamorized and palatable way with the figure of the Globeleza that every year before Carnival invades our televisions, demonstrating that our social place it is only to give pleasure to others and not being a full human being seeking our own pleasure, with guaranteed rights and occupying spaces other than the desire of the cis straight white man.
To modify this imposed structure for black women (cis or trans) as the only solution for social recognition is increasingly urgent, however only if it comes with a guarantee of decent salarial compensation for black women, inclusion of guaranteed student permanence in public universities, combating police violence and genocide of black people and sexist violence. Combating in a structural manner racism and sexism is one of the keys for us to combat and de-organize this cruel logic that we black women must always be at the service of sinhozinhos e sinhazinhas (male and female slave masters).