Note from BW of Brazil: It’s that time once again! Every year the legendary bloco afro known as Ilê Aiyê pays homage to the beauty of the black woman in their yearly Night of the Ebony Goddess competition.
Below, as in previous years (2014, 2013, 2012), we feature the women who will compete for the title. One will note that the women that will compete in the competition, as is the standard, fall on the darker shade of brown in terms of skin complexion and all wear natural, ethnic hairstyles and/or wear turbans.
The choice of these styles represent a clear statement that speaks to the necessity of showcasing black beauty without appealing to what could be called “European standards of beauty.” Salvador, which known as “Black Rome” because of it’s vibrant African cultural practices and 80% Afro-Brazilian population is all too familiar with this with recent controversial contests that featured large percentages of white or near white women and an agency that sought job candidates with white skin. Yes, it is clearly obvious that Brazil has an obsession with whiteness.
As such, we, as many within Brazil’s black consciousness movement, believe that Afro-Brazilian women of all skin shades are beautiful, but in Brazil’s mainstream media, darker-skinned women with more prominently African features are rarely if ever featured as epitomes of beauty. A recent controversy was a glaring example of this.
Last year in a reality show styled TV contest, the dark-skinned beauty Nayara Justino was chosen by voters to become Globo TV’s new Globeleza girl, whose role is to hype up the coming Carnaval season in short vignettes that are broadcast on the channel several times per day before the week actually begins. But after viewers turned on Nayara, one reason being that she was “too dark-skinned”, Globo pulled her TV clips, silenced her and recently replaced her with another black woman of a much lighter skin tone. Brazil’s classic “mulata” look.
It is for this reason that we must celebrate the Ebony Goddess: black beauty comes in all shades and that must include women of the darker shades. Take a look at the beauties throughout this post to see who will compete for the crown one week from today!
Ilê Aiyê to choose Ebony Goddess of 2015. Meet the candidates
From the newsroom of Correio Nagô
The Senzala do Bairro Preto, headquarters of Ilê Ayê bloco, located in Salvador, in the neighborhood of Curuzu, will be on January 24 at 9pm, on the stage of the 36th Night of the Black Beauty, the final day of selection of the Ebony Goddess.
15 candidates will compete for the title of queen.
In total, the competition received 60 entries.
According to the president of the bloco, Vovô, in order to win, the participant must be black and know how to dance.
For him, the contest contributes to the self-esteem of the woman of African descent.
“In Bahia, the queens of blocos and dances were hardly black. They favored light skin, thin lips. The creation of Deusa do Ébano (Ebony Goddess) is a major affirmative action of Ilê,” said the president to the newspaper A Tarde.
Candidate Juciara do Espírito Santo Silva, receptionist, 33, wants to be the Ebony Goddess when she saw Ilê parade at Carnival.
“I want to be the queen for self-affirmation, the cultural sense and appreciation of black women,” said the resident of Nordeste de Amaralina.
In addition to receiving a cash payment for the first time, the second and third place winners will parade in the allegorical position at side of the Ebony Goddess.
“We made this change to appreciate, besides the first place, the other two places,” Vovô said.
The celebration of the Queen’s choice will have participation of singers Lazzo and the Jamaican, Doctor.
Source: Correio Nagô