Meet the beautiful candidates of bloco afro Ilê Aiyê’s 2015 Night of the Ebony Goddess contest!

capaNote 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. 

Candidates of Ilê Aiyê's 2015 Ebony Goddess contest
Candidates of Ilê Aiyê’s 2015 Ebony Goddess contest

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

36th Night of the Black Beauty - Name - Neighborhood
36th Night of the Black Beauty – Name – Neighborhood

15 candidates will compete for the title of queen.

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In total, the competition received 60 entries.

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According to the president of the bloco, Vovô, in order to win, the participant must be black and know how to dance.

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For him, the contest contributes to the self-esteem of the woman of African descent.

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“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.

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Candidate Juciara do Espírito Santo Silva, receptionist, 33, wants to be the Ebony Goddess when she saw Ilê parade at Carnival.

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“I want to be the queen for self-affirmation, the cultural sense and appreciation of black women,” said the resident of Nordeste de Amaralina.

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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.

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“We made this change to appreciate, besides the first place, the other two places,” Vovô said.

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The celebration of the Queen’s choice will have participation of singers Lazzo and the Jamaican, Doctor.

Source: Correio Nagô

About Marques Travae 3170 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

7 Comments

  1. This night is a big party, with lots of music, for everyone who wants to attend. Pride in being black is a part of life in Salvador today, but the lives of the poor are still not valued.

  2. Your statement:
    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.

    There is a saying that “the oppressed always want to become the oppressor”.
    So you are saying that a light skin African descent is less Black than a lighter skin Black whose both parents may or may not be of African descent. So you are pretty much practicing the same discrimination against lighter shade of Blacks that you accuse Brazilian society of imposing on darker shades of Blacks.

    So on one hand you talk about the myriad of shades of African Blackness that must be appreciated in Brazil but then you hold a contest that rejects a shade of Blackness that exist. This type of contest perpetuates divisions among the race.

    It was once said in our movement in the United States when there was an inkling of talk trying to break unity among African Americans, that we have from the lightest light to the darkest Black that encompass African descendants. We do not considered Barack Obama or Vanessa Williams (whose parents are both Black) any less Black because they are of a lighter skin Black.

    If they consider themselves to be Black of African descent, should they be allowed to participate? You shouldn’t have to put one group down to prop another group. Thou Blacker than Thou position is a non productive position.

    You all are beautiful.

    • Hello Sekou and thanks for your comment! But I must respectfully disagree with you, In the article, it is clearly written that “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 in which a dark-skinned black woman was replaced in a contest (that she outright won) by a lighter-skinned black woman is more proof of this. If you read another article (here: http://wp.me/p1XDuf-5SJ) you will see comments by other black women, some of whom are also light-skinned, who ALSO see Brazil’s media’s standard of excluding darker-skinned black women. The fact is, all black women are under-represented in Brazil’s media, but even more so the darker-skinned black women.

      Black Brazilians of conscious know there is a color hierarchy in the country, and in their way, the many comments of support for the darker-skinned women is a way of lighter-skinned women standing in solidarity with their darker-skinned sisters.

      Bahia, as others articles show, is particularly problematic. It is 76% Afro-Brazilian but white/near white women dominate in terms if beauty aesthetics.

      The problem in Brazil is that many lighter-skinned persons of African descent subconsciously and often consciously see themselves as “better” than those with darker skin. As such, as part of this development of black identity, sometimes people do NEED to see darker skin represented as beautiful. Which is the whole point of the contest.

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