OK OK, so there really isn’t a such thing as a “Brazilian Beyonce”, right? But I guess everybody wants to be the queen on the throne. Although I usually deal with heavier subject matter on this blog, today I thought it would be cool to create a post about six women that have been promoted in some way that could be called “Beyoncenian”….Is that a word? Naw, I just created it! So check it, I know most of these women are unknown in the English speaking world, so with each of them, I’ll give a brief introduction and then explain why they made the list of “Brazilian Beyonce”.
Since Beyonce Knowles (Carter) blew up as a multimedia superstar over the past decade, I’ve noticed in my studies of “all things Brazilian” that there have been a number of Brazilian women who have been compared to, stood in the place of or is in some way reminiscent of the American pop star. First of all, let me say, I don’t think any of these women necessarily look like Ms. Knowles, but neither did Denzel really look like Malcolm X nor did Angela Basset look like Tina Turner. But if Brazil ever did one of those biopics on Beyonce and they needed someone to play “Ms. Single Ladies”, any one of these women would be a good choice. Well, almost all of them…
For four of these women, you could actually do a Google search for the term “Beyoncé brasileira” and come across articles, photos or videos featuring them. One of them did her own version of the “Single Ladies” video. Another posed as Beyonce in a photo session of a Dreamgirls re-make featuring Brazilian women. Three of the ladies were featured on the cover the Brazilian edition of Playboy magazine and yet only two of them are actually singers. So just who are these women? Read on…
Gaby Amarantos is a singer and dancer of a style of music that’s been dubbed “tecno brega”. She’s from the city of Belém, in the northern state of Pará and comes from a family of Samba dancers. She’s recorded a few CDs, a DVD, has been featured in newspapers and magazines and has made several appearances on Brazilian television shows.
Can’t say I’m a fan of her music. I don’t really see the Beyonce connection. Well, maybe the blond locks and because she recorded her own version of “Single Ladies”, complete with Portuguese lyrics!
Jéssica Maia is a Carnaval queen from the Samba school Portela, a model and dance teacher. According to the site Gente VIP, she “is considered the ‘Brazilian Beyonce’ because of her similarity to the international singer”. What do you think?
Leilah Moreno is a singer and actress that has recorded two CDs,a number of singles and appeared in two films, two novelas, a mini-series and for six years has been a regular background singer on the late night variety show Altas Horas. She was also selected as one of only four Afro-Brazilian female singers to be listed among the top 100 female singers of 2012 on the Terra website.
Ildi Silva was discovered walking the streets of her native Salvador, Bahia. She was invited to take some pictures, which would soon lead to her being featured in promotional ads and then the theatre. She has since appeared in a number of Brazil’s ever popular novelas. Although I haven’t seen any sites that referred to her as the “Beyonce Brasileira”, she makes my list because she put in Beyonce’s place for a photo session in which the 2006 Dreamgirls movie was re-created featuring Brazilian women.
Re-creation of Dreamgirls featuring Ildi Silva (middle) in Beyonce’s role.
Juliana Alves is an actress, dancer and model that got her start on the reality show Big Brother Brasil 3 in 2003. She is a former activist in the organization Criola that fights racial discrimination against black women and studied psychology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. She was also a featured Carnaval dancer and has gone on to appear in a number of variety shows and novelas including 2012’s As Brasileiras. So, why is she a “Brazilian Beyonce”? It probably stems from her appearance on a Saturday variety show in which she and two other women added to a long list of “Single Ladies” video copy cats (See Juliana with two dancers (below) and three other contestants (further below) on the same show in their ode to Beyonce.
Last, but certainly not least is actress Taís Araújo. She’s not a singer and in reality, she’s also never been referred to as a “Brazilian Beyonce”. But as I have written in a previous post, Taís is very important in the history of Afro-Brazilian actresses because of her success and her impressive number “first black woman to” accomplishments. I place her on my list of “Brazilian Beyonces” because, as I have written elsewhere, like Ms. Knowles in the US, for a while, she was the Brazilian media’s “it” black girl. Black women are effectively excluded from Brazil’s women’s magazine covers but when they DO feature a black woman, it is usually Taís. And like Beyonce, there was a period a few years ago in which she appeared on the covers of a number of well-known magazines.
All beautiful. All black. All Brazilian. It should be noted that all of these women should be known, recognized and respected in their own right as talented, beautiful women just as the ever popular true Beyonce should be. But let’s face, because of American dominance in some many different genres on the world stage, inclusive of entertainment, these six women will never gain the international acclaim that Matthew and Tina’s daughter has been able to capitalize on. I mean, had you ever heard of them? As such, Brazilian people and its media would surely like to see one of their own shine in the same way that “Ms. Irreplaceable” has done so in the past decade. So, if they wanna blow up of few of their own “Destiny’s Children” by nibbling a little off of B’s name and fame, what’s wrong wit’ dat? Brazil’s sistas is hot too!
And I for one ain’t mad at ’em!!