Note from BW of Brazil: I’ve had my eyes on the talented young rapper MC Soffia for a few years now. It’s really promising seeing a girl so young already being so conscious of the challenges black people face in terms of place, representation and self-esteem. I knew Soffia had made it big when she was featured performer at the 2016 Olympics hosted in Rio de Janeiro back in 2016. She is a shining light in media that clearly prefers boys and girls that look real life Barbie and Ken dolls. And speaking of Barbie, the young rapper has been in tune with the necessity of black girls being able to dream with images that look like them for some time.
At the age of six, Soffia was featured on the Metropolis TV program when there was a Exposição Barbie Black (Black Barbie Exposition) at a shopping mall in São Paulo. Little wonder that that exposition of Black Barbies would play a role in her career, as on February 2nd, the rapper will release her single “Barbie Black” speaking on the lack of black dolls available in Brazil’s toys stores, a theme that’s been discussed by singer Larissa Luz, actress Cris Vianna, the women of Preta Pretinha, and the Cadê nossa boneca? (where’s our doll) project.
Recently, the talented MC was once again the center of attention in a recent string of appearances aimed at keeping this issue in the public conscious while letting black girls know that they are also beautiful just as they are.
MC Soffia uses doll to talk about self-esteem: “I’m a Black Barbie”
Singer, 15, released a photographic exhibition in São Paulo
By Daniel Vaughan
“Barbies in my industry are all the same. Blondes, thin, redheads, all little standards. I’m also Barbie and I know what I’m saying, lacking more diversity, lacking seeing yourself in the mirror.” It is with these verses that MC Soffia, 13, wants to raise the self-esteem of black girls and, as the lyrics already say, the lack of diversity that affects even their toys.
The lyrics are from the single “Barbie Black”, which will be released on February 2 and features production of Boss in Drama, known for working with rapper Karol Conka, Soffia’s musical godmother.
MC Soffia started the year with news. On Tuesday night (16th), the 15-year-old rapper received guests at the Apparia Luzia house in downtown São Paulo to talk about her next single, “Barbie Black”. The pre-release party was accompanied by a pocket show and an exhibition of photos based on the composition.
“Barbie Black” was written by the young artist and will be available in early February on all digital platforms. Using the traditional American doll as an example, the lyrics address themes such as racism and gender equality.
“Me and all the girls are also a Barbie Black. So, I sing that the doll doesn’t yet represent various types of people. There are not just thin, white women in the world. We need to remember the black women, the Afro hair, the chubby women and the older women.
Soffia recalls that toys are part of the self-esteem of black children.
“I always had a lot of black dolls besides white ones, but it’s because my parents were looking for it. But the other day I went through several stores and found none of my color. It’s still not a popular type of product and, when found, it’s expensive … So how will black girls identify with their toys?”
“We are beautiful with any type of hair or skin color”
During the Soffia music release party, there were benches where the singer sold products related to her work. Among key-rings and T-shirts, there were black dolls in little clothes that included phrases such as “Sou Linda” (I’m Beautiful) and “Amo meu Cabelo” (I Love My Hair).
The exhibition that accompanied the release of the single also followed the theme of the songwriter. There are eight photos produced by the team Brechó Replay, with MC posing as an Afro-Brazilian queen on the outskirts of São Paulo.
Victoria Carolina, fashion producer of the group, gives more details of the exhibition, which will go on until later this month in São Paulo.
“We developed the idea with Soffia herself. The singer is entering pre-adolescence, so this song is also a farewell to childhood. Thus, the photos depict her with a current, more teen and less childish view. Now she’s turning into a powerful woman. Uma rainha black (A black queen).”
Representative of a good part of the teen population, Soffia emphasizes the importance that music has in the life of her fans.
“I talk about equality, because of age, and that’s important. I think I am helping my generation to overcome problems that still happen in our lives. In my songs, besides the dancing rhythm, I send positive messages … I celebrate that we are beautiful with any type of hair or skin color.”