Note from BW of Brazil: Today, the day set aside for the observance of Black Consciousness, History and Struggle is a holiday celebrated in more than 1,000 municipalities throughout Brazil! In celebration of this day, cities and states throughout the country have impressive lineups of performances, debates, marches and all sorts of other events. Below is brief snapshot of what this day looks like in a few areas a round the country. Throughout this post be sure to take a look at the videos, all in Portuguese, but the visuals provide more than enough of an idea of what this day looks like. See how the day was celebrated last year here and learn a little about great Afro-Brazilian historical figures here.
Today Brazil celebrates the Day of Black Consciousness
The Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra (National Day of Black Consciousness) is celebrated today in Brazil and is dedicated to reflection on the inclusion of blacks in Brazilian society. The week within which this day falls is called Semana Consciência Negra (Week of Black Consciousness).
The date was chosen to coincide with the day of the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, in 1695. The Day of Black Consciousness seeks to be a date to remember the black resistance to slavery in general, since the first transport of Africans to Brazilian soil (1549).
Some entities such as the Movimento Negro (the largest of its kind in the country) organize lectures and educational events, mainly targeting black children. It seeks to prevent the development of self-bias, ie, inferiority in society. Other topics discussed by the black community and that are highlighted on this day are: insertion of blacks in the labor market, university quotas, if there is discrimination by the police, identification of ethnicity, fashion and black beauty, etc.
The day has been celebrated since 1960, although it has only expanded its events in recent years.
Day of Black Consciousness is commemorated in 1,047 Brazilian cities.
The holiday has state observance in Alagoas, Amazonas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul
The Day of Black Consciousness will be celebrated on Wednesday (20) in 1,047 municipalities with cultural activities and debates about the role of blacks in society. In (the states of) Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, it is a state holiday. The date has become a landmark of combating racism and promoting public policies to include blacks and refers to the death in 1965, of the Quilombo leader Zumbi dos Palmares, who fought for the liberation of enslaved blacks. Discussions with activists, performances of brotherhoods, concerts, theatrical performances and other cultural activities are on the agenda.
In São Paulo, the attractions occur between today and tomorrow in Vale do Anhangabaú. The show, “Música, Dança e Resistência” (Music, Dance and Resistance) will have shows featuring popular Samba musician Arlindo Cruz and rappers Emicida and Dexter. Furthermore, in the evening there will be a craft and gastronomic fair where clothing, accessories and typical dishes from Africa will be sold.
In the Museu Afro Brasil, Ibirapuera Park, the exhibition “A nova mão Afro Brasileira” (The new Afro Brazilian hand), will take place at 11am. The public can talk to the artists who are part of the show. Then, the museum will offer concerts of the legendary musician Riachão, the group Maracatu Bloco de Pedro and show the documentary Hereros Angola, by the Recife-based director Sérgio Guerra. The film portrays the ancient ethnic group that lends its name to the work, its traditions and cultural exchange with Brazil.
The programming in the city of São Paulo also extends into the weekend. Activities denominated Fábricas de Cultura (Factories of Culture) occur in the periphery of São Paulo and looks to take names of music and black traditions to marginalized areas. Names like Dona Ivone Lara, the first woman to compose a samba-enredo, will participate in the project. A samba dancer performs Saturday at Jaçanã (north zone), and Sunday at Capão Redondo, in the extreme south of the city.
The programming is also extensive in Bahia, the state with the largest number of pretos (blacks) in Brazil – 17.1% of the approximately 15 million inhabitants, according to the 2010 census of the IBGE. The Secretaria Municipal de Reparação (Municipal Secretary of Reparations) of Salvador, which completes ten years, programmed affirmative activities scheduled for the entire month of November and early December. Tomorrow the 3rd Walk of Black Consciousness will occur in Ilha de Maré, in Praia Grande.
Bahia will also participate in discussions on the role of blacks in literature and film, like the III Colóquio A trajetória do Negro a Luz da Literatura e a Mostra de Cinema Especial Novembro Negro (III Symposium The trajectory of the Negro, Light of Literature and the Show of Special Negro November Cinema in Porto Seguro. The theater spectacular A Lenda das Yabás (The Legend of Yabás) of the Companhia Terra Brasilis and shows by black groups such as Olodum, are part of the free programming in Salvador.
Presentations of brotherhoods and traditional black groups mark the eve of the date in (the state of) Pernambuco. On Monday night (19) in the Pátio São Pedro in Recife, there will be activities and performances of dances of African origin, such as coco, afoxé and jurema, and musical groups like Voz Nagô, Tronco de Jurema and Afoxé Oxum Pandá.
In Rio de Janeiro, the Biblioteca Parque da Rocinha (Rocinha Library Park) on Estrada da Gávea, will present a program about black consciousness throughout the weekend. On Friday (22) at 5pm, in Rocinha, writers and composers will have a roundtable discussion about samba de raiz (Root Samba), its interpreters, such as late artists Bezerra da Silva and Jovelina Pérola Negra, and their stories.
Centro Cultural José Bonifácio, also in Rio will stage various activities in support of black culture. Guardas de Congado, Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi perform at 2.30pm marking the beginning of the third edition of the África Diversa project, which complements the training of educators and artists on Afro-Brazilian culture.
The Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Social (Seppir or Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality), which complete ten years of operations in 2013, commemorates the date in the show “Seppir 10 – A Decade of Racial Equality” at the Centro Cultural José Bonifácio in Rio, with a season starting today to January 19th (Tuesday to Friday, from 10am to 6pm).