Note from BW of Brazil: Well, now things are getting interesting! It’ll be intriguing to see if activists actually manage to disrupt the “black exclusion/business as usual” narrative that Rede Globo and TV networks of Brazil’s mass media. If this lawsuit is actually successful and causes the complete re-vamping of a novela (soap opera), it will be the second major victory for the Movimento Negro in as many months. Just last month, a court ordered the Rede Record TV network to allow 16 hours of positive content about Afro-Brazilian religions to be broadcast on the air. The ruling came after a 14-year court struggle in which the Record channel has had free reign to demonize followers of African-oriented religions; presentations that have no doubt lead followers of the Evangelical movement to destroy sacred houses of worship of leaders of the Candomblé and Umbanda religions.
In terms of Globo’s record, this is the second time in recent years in which public disappointment in the way Afro-Brazilians have been portrayed has been voiced against a Globo production. Back in 2014, the series Sexo e As Negas was the target of one of the most inspiring, successful campaigns against the media giant, forcing the network to completely shut down any talks of airing a second season in which black women were presented in nearly every stereotypical manner known to Brazilian culture. It wasn’t the first time Afro-Brazilian activists denounced a Globo program for its negative depictions of black people and it surely won’t be the last.
This time the culprit is the new novela entitled Segundo Sol, which is set in Bahia, the state with the country’s largest black population with about 76% of its inhabitants defining themselves as preto or pardo. Which is the root of the problem. Globo TV’s position on the issue seems to follow the way one black woman described being treated as being “out of place” in “white spaces” even being in a majority black state. Judging from the cast chosen for the new novela, one would not come to the conclusion that Bahia, particularly its capital city, Salvador, where the novela is set, is Brazil’s center of black/African culture. Get out the popcorn and let’s wait and see how this dilemma is resolved!
Globo is sued for racism in the 9 o’clock novela that requires blacks in cast
Courtesy of Congresso em Foco
The Globo television network is the target of a lawsuit for racist and discriminatory practices because of its new novela (soap opera) Segundo Sol, its next prime time next attraction. The União de Negros pela Igualdade (Union of Blacks for Equality or Unegro) filed a civil public action against the broadcaster in the 2nd Civil Court of the Public Fazenda in Salvador, Bahia. For the entity, the cast of the novela does not express soteropolitana (Salvador oriented) and Bahian society. Sought to comment on the matter, the broadcaster did not respond to Congresso em Foco as of the conclusion of this report.
According to the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílio (PNAD), last year, blacks were 85% of the population of the Bahian capital. Even in the face of this scenario, the novela, set in Salvador, is played by white actors. The petition claims that the practice of racism affects not only the Bahian population, but “hurts the whole population and because it does not speak to Brazilian society, considering that, according to the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílio – PNAD-IBGE, the Brazilian population estimated in the past year, 2017, was 205 million and 500 thousand inhabitants, being that the blacks today represent the majority, i.e., fifty and five per cent, although this percentage in Bahia is higher (almost 80%)”.
Played by actors Emílio Dantas, Vladmir Brichta, Giovana Antonelli, Deborah Secco and Adriana Esteves, all whites, the novela of João Emanuel Carneiro authorship will debut on May 14th and tells the story of an Axé singer who is believed to be dead after an airplane crash. The main conflict of the drama consists in the fact that the protagonist, Emílio Dantas, is convinced not to tell the truth about what happened and assume a new identity in a place far away from the Bahian coast, where he will form a romantic and white couple – with the character of Giovana Antonelli.
The civil public action is signed by the lawyer Egberto Magno and asks for an injunction to compel Globo TV to include black men and black women as protagonists in the recording in the next chapters. “[…] to implement these obligations a re-adjustment of the script is required, measures being adopted by the broadcaster,” complains the lawsuit. (…)
MPT recommends due racial representation to the Globo network in novela
The company will have 10 days to meet measures, which aim for respect to equality. Noncompliance could result in action
The Public Ministry of Labor (MPT), through the National Coordinator for the Promotion of Equality of opportunity and the elimination of discrimination in the workplace (Coordigualdade), sent to the Globo Network a notification recommending, because of the repercussion of the debut of the novela Segundo Sol, which will be broadcast in prime time. Set in Bahia, the state with the largest percentage of the black population of Brazil – according to data from the Mapa de Distribuição Espacial da População (map of spatial distribution of the population) (IBGE 2013) – the novela has been the target of criticism for the low number of black actors in his cast.
The MPT believes that the non-mirroring of society in television programs generates the perpetuation of exclusion and reaffirms stereotypes of limitation of spaces to be occupied by the black population. The Statute of Racial Equality, recommends the Public Power to promote actions that ensure equal opportunities in the labor market for the black population, including through the implementation of measures aimed at promoting equality in hiring in the public sector and encouraging the adoption of similar measures in businesses and private organizations.
The case came to MPT by means of race (race) working group, Coordigualdade, of that a novela that takes place in Bahia would not be observing the respect for the black representation, including violating rules for the promotion of equality in the state of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. “We decided to send this note, in order to show the importance of the company to comply with racial diversity. Despite being an artistic work and an open work, we believe that it has an obligation to include black actors in sufficient proportion for a real representation of society,” explained the national coordinator of Coordigualdade, Valdirene Silva de Assis.
She added that the goal is even more extensive, because it provides a set of actions, for which racial equality is respected not only in the representation of the novela, but throughout the work environment of the company.
The prosecutor of the MPT in Rio, Luciana Tostes, which also incorporates the race working group, also emphasizes that the decision to issue a recommendation came even before the complaint received by the unit of the MPT, made up of representatives of the black movement, but that the reaction of black movements is fundamental for the promotion of equality in fact.
Recommendations – In the document, the MPT put together 14 recommendations for the company, such as: preparation of an action plan containing measures to ensure the inclusion, equal opportunities and remuneration of the black population in the labor relations; the immediate implementation of a census among workers who provide services to the company, with a race/ethnicity and gender slant; a survey of the number of black men and black women artists that appear in the telenovelas, series, advertisements, entertainment programs, among other products, produced by the company as well as the journalists and commentators; promoting internal and external actions to raise awareness about the racism in society; refrain reproducing situations of negative representations or stereotypes of the pessoa negra (black person) that sustain the symbolic denial actions and the various forms of violence.
Regarding the novela Segundo Sol, the MPT recommended the completion of necessary adaptations in the script and production in order to ensure the participation of atores e atrizes negros e negras (black actors and actresses) so that it represents the ethnic-racial diversity of Brazilian society. The company must prove the measures adopted in relation to the new novela within 10 days. Regarding the other topics the company will have 45 days to submit a work schedule, including communicating the schedule grids for displaying the relevant institutional campaigns.
If the recommendations are unfulfilled, it is up to the Public Prosecutor to call on the company to provide clarifications on the hearing and, where appropriate, secure terms of commitment to conduct adjustment, or propose appropriate judicial action.