Rio-based group to present event celebrating black beauty and hair during the International Day of the Black Woman

Meninas Black Power, a group formed by Jana Guinond (in glasses), and from left to right, Karine Vieira, Jéssyca Liris, Jaciana Melquiades, Fabíola Oliveira, Maria Fernanda and Tainá Almeida. Márcio Mercante/Agência O Dia
Meninas Black Power, a group formed by Jana Guinond (in glasses), and from left to right, Karine Vieira, Jéssyca Liris, Jaciana Melquiades, Fabíola Oliveira, Maria Fernanda and Tainá Almeida. Márcio Mercante/Agência O Dia

Note from BW of Brazil: Hard to believe that one year has passed, but Friday we recognize women of African descent on the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Day. One of the main purposes of this blog was to bring a little more visibility to black women of a Brazil that basically ignores their basic existence, contributions to society and the special challenges that affect this parcel of the population. One of the principal issues that we regularly address here is the struggle to simply exist as a black woman in a nation that imposes a Eurocentric dictatorship of physical aesthetics in a variety of ways that many women (black or not) don’t even recognize. To celebrate and continue their important role of increasing self-esteem and acceptance among Brazil’s black women, one important group will hold a special event that simultaneously challenges the status quo while helping to spread acceptance of the special beauty of black women.

International Day of the Black Woman will feature a beauty event

Clube Renascença (Renaissance Club) presents ‘Encrespando’, aiming to appreciate black beauty and encourage the liberation of tresses

By Carmen Lúcia

Women of the Meninas Black Power organization
Women of the Meninas Black Power organization

Rio – In 1982, while singing “Olhos Coloridos”, Sandra de Sá prophesied: “Meu cabelo enrolado, todos querem imitar (My curled hair, everyone wants to emulate).” If the strands in the best black power (afro) style were featured on the heads of men and women in the 1970s, now they’re back with full force. Proof of this is that the tresses of actress Taís Araújo, Verônica in the novela Geração Brasil, are third on the list of preferences of the public, according to the Central de Atendimento ao Telespectador (CAT or Service Center of the Spectator). “It shows that, finally, we are loving ourselves, appreciating what is genuinely Brazilian. I’m proud,” says Taís.

This result could not come at a better time in the week in which Bahian journalist Lilia de Souza caused controversy when she faced difficulty getting her passport because of the size of her afro textured hair. Friday marks the International Day of the Latin American and Caribbean Black Woman. On the date, the collective Meninas Black Power – a group formed by Jana Guinond, Maria Fernanda, Karina Vieira, Jéssyca Liris, Tainá Almeida, Fabíola Oliveira, Natália Regina and Jaciana Melquiades – put on, with free entry at Clube Renascença, ‘Escrespando’ (1). The event aims to highlight the beauty of black women and encourage liberation of hair.

‘I pride myself in knowing that my practically natural hair is being coveted’, - Taís Araújo
‘I pride myself in knowing that my practically natural hair is being coveted’, – Taís Araújo

“We always say that when you look at a woman with a black (afro), you see a free person,” says Jana Guinond. In the space, in addition to other activities, there will be a turban workshop, lectures teaching the care of cabelo crespo (curly/kinky hair) and a chat in order for children to accept their natural hair from childhood. “It’s important that the little ones see that their hair is beautiful, yes. It’s a question of identity,” said Fabiola Oliveira. About ‘Encrespando’, actress and poet Elisa Lucinda only has compliments: “Affirmative actions like this are important for black self-esteem.”

‘We are proving that we are beautiful and capable. Accepting your image is to impose respect’, - actress Lica Oliveira
‘We are proving that we are beautiful and capable. Accepting your image is to impose respect’, – actress Lica Oliveira

For actress Jéssica BarbosaNeidinha in the second phase of the novela Em Família, who had straight hair until she was 17 – facing the transformation was difficult. “My standard of beauty was Xuxa (2). I wanted to have perfectly straight hair. But after I accepted the black, I became a reference for black girls. This is very important to me,” she says. Actress Lica Oliveira and dancer Adriana BomBom always had certainty: the more volume the better. “Full hair shows off the face very well. There’s always that pressure to straighten. And sometimes, it’s not spoken. We feel it in the looks. The secret is not to give in,” advises Lica.

Dancer Adriana Bombom, actress Jéssica Barbosa
Dancer Adriana Bombom, actress Jéssica Barbosa

Another point critiqued by Meninas Black Power is the difficulty in finding makeup products. “Many of us have resorted to the old trick of mixing three different powders to get the tone you want. In the middle of 2014, it’s an absurdity that this still happens,” says Tainá Almeida. Someone who has experienced the same problem is the actress Cacau Protásio: “When I make myself up, or I turn white or gray. It’s as if the average woman, that doesn’t belong to the dictatorship of beauty, that isn’t within the standards, doesn’t exist.”

‘The industries ignore people like me who, in addition to being black, are plump’, - Cacau Protásio
‘The industries ignore people like me who, in addition to being black, are plump’, – Cacau Protásio

But all is not lost. Proof of this is the election of actress Lupita Nyong’o as the most beautiful woman in the world by the magazine People. “People just see the obvious: Lupita is very beautiful and the coolest thing is that it she has the aesthetics of the black woman,” says Jéssyca Liris.

Aware that the journey is long, the collective Meninas Black Power ensures that much has already been achieved, but some issues can still improve. “We put on this encounter with our heart. We want to reach people. My hope is that my children, maybe grandchildren perhaps, experience something close to full racial peace. My fight is for that,” says Fabiola.

AGENDA

4pm – Opening the gates

5pm – Lecture: The self-esteem of the black woman with the Associação de Mulheres Ação e Reação (Association of Action and Reaction Women)

6pm – Cabelo crespo (curly-kinky hair) workshop

7pm – African Dance – Valéria Monã

19:30 – Dance – Femme Beats

8pm – Rapper Mr. Ronney performance

9pm – Consciência Tranquila (Tranquil Conscience) performance

Clube Renascença is located on Rua Barão de São Francisco, 54. Andaraí.  For more information, email mbpcarioca@gmail.com

Source: O Dia

Notes

1. Taken from the word ‘crespo’, meaning curly/kinky, ‘escrespando’ or ‘to encrespar’ can be translated as the opposite of ‘straightening’ in terms of hair. In other words, allowing one’s hair to be curlier or kinkier.

2. One can note that throughout this blog many Afro-Brazilian women have revealed the influence of the very white, very blond television host Maria da Graça “Xuxa” Meneghel. Over the course of her long career, many point to Xuxa as Brazil’s promoted European standard of beauty that men desired and women who either wanted to be her or be a part of her very blond dance troupe known as the Paquitas. Various articles on the BW of Brazil blog touch upon the Xuxa factor.

About Marques Travae 2898 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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