Note from BW of Brazil: Yesterday, June 12th, was the Dia dos Namorados in Brazil. It’s the day that couples across the country celebrate love and their relationships. Brazil’s version of Valentine’s Day. One of the many holidays that are celebrated in Brazil, chocolate candy stores and flower stores were working overtime yesterday to meet the demands of millions of people seeking to show their loved ones their adoration and appreciation. So, what’s wrong with that, right?
Well, besides being just another commercial holiday for people to go out and spend their hard- earned money, often times money they can’t even afford to spend, I suppose nothing. I mean, everyone wants to feel like they’re special, right? Even if their partner can’t afford to wisk them away on a spontaneous trip to Paris on their private jet.
But for some, just a card, candy or/or flowers would be enough. Just being somebody’s somebody would be probably be plenty for those who don’t have a special person in their lives. Unfortunately, if you’re a woman with clearly black features in Brazil, you’re more likely to fall into that category. I’ve discussed this often the past few years, but the topic can never get old because, as I’ve argued in the past, as long as black Brazilians choose not to address this topic, as a community, the black population can NEVER reach its full potential. And no number of black entrepreneurs, affirmative action policies, or the practice of black money will solve this problem of black self-love that seems to be so profound within the Afro-Brazilian community.
Sure, the media and black websites routinely celebrate famous black couples such as the acting duo of Taís Araújo and husband Lázaro Ramos, or actor Érico Brás and wife, producer Kenia Dias, but they have to celebrate these couples because, quite frankly they are just about the only two black couples that have public recognition. Two couples. Taís and Lázaro just happen to be on the cover this month’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine cover. And as fate would have it, journalist Joyce Ribeiro and her husband, civil engineer Luciano Machado are featured on the latest issue of Raça Brasil magazine.
Of course it’s great seeing these beautiful couples taking the spotlight on two magazine covers, but neither override the glaring absence of black couples/families in the media. Araújo herself once acknowledged that she “grew up without having a black couple that represented (her)”. Actress Maria Gal has also noted the absence of black families in Brazilian productions and while on this topic, let’s not forget the initial rejection an all black family featured in a Father’s Day commercial caused last year, which speaks to an observation by Luana Xavier in her piece below.
To be sure, the Taís/Lázaro, Érico/Kenia, Joyce/Luciano pairs aren’t the only prominent black couples that come to mind. A few others are include Maju Coutinho and advertising agent, Agostinho Paulo Moura, and singer Paula Lima and husband, business administrator, Ronaldo Bonfim, but again, these couples are few and far between, which is why it’s always celebrated when Taís/Lázaro are featured on the covers of the numerous magazines in which they’ve appeared together.
Of course, I can’t say that I am familiar with every single black celebrity in Brazil, and one might even ask, how do we determine how famous one need be to fit in such a group? But as I’ve followed this scenario for many years, I can tell you, (it seems that) damn near every Afro-Brazilian male or female entertainer that the public is familiar with, particularly in the under 45 crowd, is married or in a long-term relationship with men or women that are not considered black. It’s incredible, and not in a good way. I’ve said it numerous times before, but it seems that every black Brazilian man and a large percentage of black Brazilian women are “down with the swirl“, and this goes far beyond the reach of show business.
Actress Luana Xavier recently took to her social network profile as well as a popular women’s magazine to discuss her feelings on this issue. Although Luana not on the A-list of Afro-Brazilian actresses, she’s been in the game for a minute and she just happens to be the granddaughter of veteran actress, Chica Xavier. Of course, in Chica’s day, it was far more common to see famous black Brazilians marry persons of their own color, and Luana had a great example of black love in seeing grandmother Chica with her husband, also actor Clementino Kelé. But in the 21st century, things are very different and Luana has become yet another example of a pretty black woman who has been passed over as the black men she dreamed of some day marrying have passed her over for whiter pastures.
Luana Xavier on interracial love: “What is missing in me and what is left over in them?”
By Silvia Nascimento
Most black celebrities are not affectively committed to people of the same racial group. What we see is famous black men with white women and famous black women with white men, the most known exception, is the couple Lázaro Ramos and Taís Araújo.
Does the debate about the solidão da mulher negra (black women’s loneliness) still apply? Is there data that prove that there are more mulheres negras sozinhas (single black women) than mulheres brancas (white women)? A 2012 survey by IBGE indicates that 70% of marriages in the country occur among people of the same ethnicity, but data doesn’t diminish the pain of loneliness.
Actress Luana Xavier used the date of Dia dos Namorados (Brazilian Valentine’s Day) to discuss this sensitive subject from a personal perspective. She is 31 years old, has never been in a relationship, a situation, which according to her in her video posted on Instagram, is a situation very common among black women.
With much courage Luana speaks in her video of a little more than 2 minutes, about the behavior of the black man that when he socially ascends enters relationships with white women, but doesn’t spare reflections on what types of black men these white women are interested in. “I understand they fall in love with ours, but my question is why do they fall in love with our best, the most studious, the most successful, the most well-connected and fun? Over time I was forced to understand, that in return they fall in love with them too,” says the actress.
With her self-esteem up to date, Luana confesses to doubts about whether she feels equal or beautiful enough to enter this “undeclared dispute” between black and white women. She still talks about the theory of amor não tem cor (love has no color), which for her, only applies to blacks.
“It has no color when it comes to my people. Arabs marry Arabs, Asians with Asians, Jews with Jews, but when it comes to black people, ahh, then you have to mix,” provokes the actress (see note one).
It cannot be a coincidence that I and so many minas pretas (black girls) have already passed into our 30’s, without ever experiencing a relationship,” says an emotional Luana.
“I’m tired of hearing compliments,” she says. “What I want to know is what’s missing in me, that is left over in them.”
Feliz Dia dos Namorados (Happy Valentine’s Day) to those who are dating
By Luana Xavier
In our patriarchal society, we women were raised to have a partner. To get a husband, to have children, to form a family and to be happy forever.
Of course when we talk about black people this ideology changes a lot. Because the black woman in Brazil was raised to be fearless, a warrior, take care of the family, help raise her siblings, be the right arm of the single mother, and often becoming a single mother as well. We black women are born with that DNA of the daily battle, the double or triple shift, the steel breasts that solve the problems inside the house and a bunch of other people around.
But in this old perspective of the traditional Brazilian family, I really dreamed of getting a nice guy and being able to have my babies. The image that I’ve had since I was a teenager in my head was of a cara preto retinto (dark-skinned black guy) who had a liking for studies, who was a militant for blackness and, if possible, having a family with a class and racial consciousness like mine.
But every time I tried to have a relationship with a guy I was interested in, I created a nice excuse for not being happy in the end.
The first was from a family quite friendly with mine. But he only came to me when he was dating (always white women, by the way). He wanted me as a delivery snack. Realizing that he would never commit to me, I decided to believe that it was because he was fighting for his own career and didn’t have time to be with me.
The second even maintained kind of a long affair with me, but decided not to commit to me because he came back with a teenage girlfriend (white by chance). I understood that he didn’t really insist because we lived in different cities.
The one at the time continues to hang around me and pretend to be single, but as the social networks are there to expose the life of others, I am aware that he doesn’t let go of his white girlfriend for anything.
The fact is that the black woman theoretically gets used to being alone. Or is content to be the option of the dawn just to feel loved in some way.
And all these episodes sum up to what we within militancy call the “solitude of the black woman.” At this point many women will say: “I’m not black and I have a hard time maintaining a relationship.” And what I can explain is that, even though you still don’t have a partner, what kept you from having one, fatally, was not the color of your skin. I am a black woman, actress, I live my art, I am 31 years old, I studied my private life in private school and never had a relationship.
I heard from an amigo preto (black friend) once that he did not date a black woman because we’re too much work. I have to agree a little with him, because we give all kinds of work and the main thing is to manage to put our men into the job market, because we cannot grow alone. We make a point of taking our own in the same boat.
I had to go to therapy to learn how to deal with this loneliness and it has helped me a lot. But there are two things that the walls of the consultation office cannot give me: affection and skin.
As long as this relationship hasn’t come, I am taking care of myself, because I am learning to love myself above all else.
Feliz Dia dos Namorados (Happy Valentine’s Day) to those who are dating. And to my manas pretas (black sisters) goes my message: practice self-care! Our mental health gives thanks.
- Interesting observation by Luana as it speaks directly to the plan laid out by highly influential Brazilians of the 19th century to promote miscegenation in Brazil so that the black population eventually mixes itself out of existence through the process of embranquecimento, or whitening. Luana’s comment here also reminds me of a comment made when an all-black family was featured in a Father’s Day commercial last year. According to one viewer, the family needed to be “mixed up”.