Journalism award seeks to present the black woman as protagonist with positive image

The 3rd Abdias Nascimento National Journalist Award will feature a Special Gender award in journalism in the name of Antonieta de Barros
The 3rd Abdias Nascimento National Journalist Award will feature a Special Gender award in journalism in the name of Antonieta de Barros

Note from BW of Brazil: In an ongoing attempt to bring more positive visibility to black Brazilian women that has already included writing contests, books, essays, magazines and beauty contests, and a discussion on public policies to address this issue, now comes a journalist award which includes a special gender category. These awards are named in honor of two very important Afro-Brazilian historical figures. See the story below.

Specialists speak out about the invisibility of the issue and indicate how journalism can contribute to reflecting Brazilian diversity

Showing the black woman as the protagonist of her life and of transformations in society, presenting her with positive images, and bringing her issues to the public agenda are goals of the 3º Prêmio Nacional Jornalista Abdias Nascimento (The 3rd Abdias Nascimento National Award Journalist). Focused on journalists, there will be open enrollment until July 31 in seven categories, including the Especial de Gênero Jornalista Antonieta de Barros (Antonieta de Barros Journalist Gender Special).

In the evaluation of Dr. Jurema Werneck, director of the NGO Criola and a Ph.D in Communication and Culture from UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro or Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), the media still treats black woman a “as non-subject” and reinforces stereotypes. “We are exposed as victims, perpetrators of tragedies, or as vehicles [transmitters] of tragedy: mother, wife or sister of killers,” she says, becoming part of the Panel of Judges in the competition in 2012.

For the coordinator of the Prêmio Abdias (Abdias Award) from the Comissão de Jornalistas pela Igualdade Racial (Cojira-Rio or Commission of Journalists for Racial Equality of Rio de Janeiro), Sandra Martins, overcoming this scenario requires very accurate Brazilian press reports with statistical data and a plurality of sources that promote reflection on the situation of black women in the country and their issues. According to her, even when reports are done in a positive perspective, these women are left out.

Jurema Werneck and Sandra Martins: The award is means of bringing positive visibility to black women and fighting widespread negative stereotypes
Jurema Werneck and Sandra Martins: The award is a means of bringing positive visibility to black women and fighting widespread negative stereotypes

“When the theme is Women’s Day and the agenda shows various achievements, the black Brazilian woman, her struggle for human rights and her role are made invisible. However, when the bias is that of inadequate service, or the victim, she is shown. But, this time, preferably with messy hair and signs of financial difficulties, a negative approach,” says Sandra. Martins also says that the idea of the award is “to give visibility to the problems of black people, especially black women, in a balanced and positive form in the media, breaking the cycle of repetition of stereotypes is a challenge for journalism in the country,”

To highlight the importance of black women in Brazil, the coordinator of Cojira-Rio reminds us of the trajectory of Antonieta de Barros, a journalist who for whom a special award in the category of gender takes her name. In Santa Catarina, in the 1920s, Antoinette worked in the press, founded a newspaper and became the first black woman state representative in Brazil.

The Abdias Nascimento Journalist Award will also take applications and distribute R$35,000 (about US$17,000) to professional journalists in seven categories: Mídia Impressa (Print Media), TV, Radio, Internet, and Mídia alternativa ou comunitária (Alternative or Community media).

Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2011)
Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2011)

About Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2011) – A former senator, Nascimento became an icon of human rights and the fight against racism and is arguably Brazil’s most well-known activists of Afro-Brazilian rights. Before his death in May of 2011, the 2,000-page reference book, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience (edited by Henry Louis Gates and Anthony Appiah), Nascimento was considered possibly the most complete intellectual of African ancestry in the world. He developed an extensive intellectual production as an activist, politician, artist, writer, poet and playwright. Born in the city of Franca in the state of São Paulo, he participated in the first congress of blacks. In Rio de Janeiro, he created the Teatro Experimental do Negro (TEN or the Black Experimental Theater). He was also a reporter for the Jornal Diário and worked in various periodicals. Nascimento founded the Quilombo newspaper, was affiliated with the Sindicato dos Jornalistas Profissionais do Município do Rio (Union of Professional Journalists of the Municipality of Rio) and was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Source: Prêmio Abdias Nascimento

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Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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