Brazilian fans of the Netflix series ‘Dear White People’ get a special treat: Lead character Sam speaks about Afro-Brazilian heroes Zumbi and Dandara on Brazil’s Black Consciousness Day
By Marques Travae
“I’ve got a superhero origin story for you.”
This is how the main character Samantha of the Netflix series Dear White People (released as Cara Gente Branca in Brazil) starts her radio program in a recent episode. This must have caught Brazilian fans of the show but surprise. The show has been a huge hit in Brazil, specifically with black Brazilians. Clearly this program has struck a chord with na Afro-Brazilian Community who are increasingly in tune with their country’s racial politics. I must say, Dear White People arrived in Brazil at the perfect time!
And on the perfect day! This episode was broadcast on Monday, November 20th, the Day of Black Consciousness all over Brazil. If you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you know that this day chosen by Afro-Brazilian activists as a replacement for the recognition of May 13th, the day in which slavery was abolished in in Brazil in 1888. Brazil was the last country in the Americans to end this brutal institution.
November 20th was chosen as it was the day Brazil’s greatest warrior, Zumbi, of the country’s greatest quilombo, Palmares, was killed. The Palmares quilombo (maroon Society of fugitive slaves) is estimted to have anywhere from 20,000-50,000 inhabitants and resisted numerous attempts by the Portuguese to invade and destroy it. Samantha, played by Logan Browning, briefly discussed this on her radio program.
“Back in the 1600s, there was Brazilian settlement called Palmares, of over 30,000 escaped African slaves. Their leader, Zumbi, was so well-known for his physical prowess and battle skills that some people though he was literally imortal,” says Sam.
She goes on to reveal that, to this day, Zumbi is considered a symbol of black Brazilian resistance. I would say he is considered black Brazil’s greatest hero as we can gauge from the countless civil rights organizations, groups, social networks and even Brazil and Latin America’s only black college that take his name. Samantha also doesn’t forget to mention that his wife, Dandara, also deserves recognition in her own right, as Afro-Brazilian women have been highlighting the life, courage and atributes of this warrior woman for years.
For Samantha, “it is a day to recognize the injustices, honor the warriors, and remember the many contributions black people made to Brazilian culture.”
True dat! I’ve been talking about this for more than 8 years online and 20 years in general. But it’s great to see a globally recognized TV program talk about this. Somebody’s watching Brazil! Samantha also asked a question I’ve been thinking for a long time…
“Is there a Zumbi movie in production right now? That would be badass!”
Well, actually, I’ve been thinking, WHY isn’t there a movie in production about Zumbi? The 1984 film Quilombo film touched on the the topic of Palmares, but I’m talking a much bigger, Black Panther bigger production focusing on Zumbi and Dandara. THAT would be the shit!
“Sam is back in the studio to tell you the story of Zumbi dos Palmares. Happy Black Awareness Day #WokeWithBrazil #ConsciênciaNegra” pic.twitter.com/fVbRHph9Xx
— Dear White People (@DearWhitePeople) 20 de novembro de 2017
For those not familiar with Dear White People, it a Netflix series based on the Justin Simien of the same name. The series, like the film, focuses on racial tensions, social and political conflicts on the campus of the fictional university, Winchester, na elite educational institution with na overwhelmingly white student body, a scenario that black Brazilians can most definitely relate to. That’s what the main issue of the affirmative action debates have been about over the past two decades.
On her radio program, called Dear White People, Sam makes many listeners uncomfortable with her critical comments on the things that white people do in relation to black people. Having such a militant stance on white folks, Sam’s views are even more intriguing considering the fact that she is romatically involved with a white male, which is another topic that’s been hot in the black Brazilian community for a number of years.
I’ll say it again, it’s great that black Brazil can identify with series and films featuring majority black casts that have black people and issues as the focus, but it’s BEEN TIME for black Brazil to have their own shows in which THEY can bring the noise. We already see it in theater. It’s time for small and big screen representation. We already know that the talent is there…