Note from BW of Brazil: Even though in many cases, some very talented individuals have yet to see their talents pay off in lucrative financial rewards, I firmly believe that if they keep grinding, putting in the work, eventually the prosperity will come. The pages of this blog have been filled with some incredible Afro-Brazilian creators and entrepreneurs in recent years and with the mainstream still mostly ignoring them, these people are taking things into their hands and making things happen! These are most definitely exciting times for black creativity! Below, meet just six individuals and one collective who are making big moves in the year 2018. Most of them or their work has been presented on these pages previously.
7 Brazilian creators redefining creativity in 2018
* Originally published in AFROPUNK.
They left their signature in 2017 creating content and projects that impacted on how people relate to advertising, social causes, and tested new ways to create content that has relevance in people’s lives. Get to know 7 creators you need to follow in 2018.
Born in 2016, the MOOC collective began 2017 taking its first steps of maturing as a project. They quickly realized the lack of authenticity in the creative market when it comes to representativeness, and connected and co-created striking projects with Converse, C & A and Skol, among other large companies. With MOOC, for the first time some of the biggest Brazilian brands spoke of the importance of diversity in their TV campaigns.
This year, they are taking over as a company and expanding their work with a focus on re-signifying the idea of what it is to be a young black and shows them that they can reach higher levels.
In 2017, Jaciana Melquíades started a company, Era Uma Vez o Mundo (Once Upon the World), which believes in the power of black children’s imagination and helps them see themselves positively in their dolls. When many people were just complaining and saying that the large toy industry is unrepresentative, she created a company that places the black child at the center of everything, including the development of toys.
Creator of Desabafo Social, an organization that uses communication and new technologies to promote Education in Human Rights through training and content production, in 2017 Monique Evelle saw her work gain even more projection by becoming a reporter for the largest Brazilian TV station and bringing a more humane look to the journalistic content of TV.
In 2018 she is transforming Radar, which was a personal project of mapping creative talents, a meeting point of ideas and creative people that enables transformative connections that point to another future.
Curator and Creative Director, born in Bahia, Diane Lima curated the exhibition “Diálogos Ausentes”, the first exhibition dedicated to Afro-Brazilian culture in 30 years of one of the most important cultural institutions in the country, Itaú Cultural, becoming a framework for national cultural production by expanding the discussion about our absences in galleries, museums and cultural spaces.
In addition to several other projects, she held another edition of AfroTranscendence, a program of immersion in creative processes that she has been developing since 2015, a pioneering reference in Brazil to deal with creation processes to understand contemporary Afro-Brazilian creative culture. In 2018 she will make AfroTranscendence a traveling program, which will culminate in a residency program in Germany.
Egnalda Côrtes blew up in 2017. She created Côrtes Assessoria, the first advisory for black content creators in Brazil, and now even non-black creators are seeking her service as she has accomplished a feat: finding and connecting creators with up to 300,000 followers who have never partnered with brands. In 2018 she wants to expand the work of the Côrte Assessoria to serve more creators and encourage the investment of large companies in creative initiatives of the comunidade negra (black community).
Last year, Victor Apolinário, from the brand Cemfreio, subverted his own parade and shut down the São Paulo Fashion Week questioning beauty standards and the elitist vision of fashion. His team at SPFW had 90% black people, something rare and he celebrates with good reason. In addition, Apolinario encouraged the fashion crowd to take a more critical view and expose the big players who want to talk about blackness and diversity, not having diversity on their own teams or even committing racist acts.
This year, Apolinário is opening a physical headquarters that will function as a creative home to further promote cultural projects undertaken by those who previously had no space.
Konrad Dantas, better known as Kondzilla, is one of the main responsible for transforming Brazilian funk into a genre heard worldwide and that now navigates in different spaces in Brazilian culture and media. In 2017 he became the largest Brazilian creator on YouTube and the fourth largest in the world, strengthening the culture of the peripheries and encouraging the talent and creativity of the molecada negra (black kids).