Note from BW of Brazil: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’re probably quite familiar with the star-making potential of the online video sharing platform known as YouTube. Whether your interest is just watching videos of your favorite TV shows, or tuning in to get the deal on how people are reacting to the latest hot topic in whatever country you may live in, the channel has made it possible for billions of people to get their point of view across and also connect with other people who agree or maybe disagree with their views. And if people connect with what you’re doing, it can lead appearances on mainstream television programs, sponsorships or even recording contracts. In a earlier post today, we saw an excellent example of the power of YouTube.
In 2012, Ludmilla Oliveira da Silva was just a young, black girl with dreams of stardom in a lower class community in Rio de Janeiro. But the release of one her songs on YouTube and its subsequent popularity, the former MC Beyoncé, now known as simply Ludmilla, this young woman has gone on to command a seven-figure monthly income, an endorsement deal and an appearance on the cover Forbes Brasil magazine. Impressive to say the least!
But as I’ve shown in a number of previous posts, for many Afro-Brazilian, fame and fortune is not necessarily even the objective of creating their own YouTube channels, although I’m sure no one would reject such an opportunity if it ever came about. In a Brazilian media that has and continues to present its population as mostly European in its physical appearance, YouTube provides the opportunity for countless black Brazilian women to step forward and say, “I exist and I have something to say to other people like me.” Although on YouTube, just like in mainstream television channels, white women are the primary beneficiaries of promotion and sponsorships that make them nearly as popular as any well-known actress, black women are making the most of a platform that allows them to speak on issues that the media generally ignores and reach an audience with whom these issues really matter.
The United Nations apparently also finds value in the work of these women and the necessity of black representation in a racist country is the women’s branch of the organ has partnered with these aspiring young women to promote the empowerment of black women in the struggle against racial discrimination. More below…
UN Women launches digital action with black women YouTubers to fight racism
The Dia Internacional pela Eliminação da Discriminação Racial (International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), marked on March 21, earned the support of black Brazilian YouTubers who united their voices against racism. The digital action Youtubers Negras na Década Internacional de Afrodescendentes (2015-2024) (Black Women YouTubers in the International Decade of Afrodescendants 2015-2024) is a partnership of UN Women Brazil with the Articulação de ONGs de Mulheres Negras Brasileiras (AMNB or Articulation of NGOs of black Brazilian women). The goal is to show what must be done in the International Decade of Afrodescendants in the view of young content producers.
Proclaimed in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Década Afro (African Decade) proposes advances for the protection of the rights of the black population in the world under the slogan “Povos afrodescendentes: reconhecimento, justiça e desenvolvimento” (Afro-descendant peoples: recognition, justice and development). The initiative is a continuation of the commitments made by the UN Member States with the Durban Plan of Action, a document of the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, 2001, which was reiterated at the Conference of Durban Review, 2009.
Known for the production of content aimed at the empowerment of black women on YouTube, Carolina Lima, of the channel Já tinha Carol; Lorena Monique, of Neggata, Patricia Rammos, of A abadá pata cada dia; Winnie Bueno, of Preta Expressa; and Xan Ravelli, of Soul Vaidosa, produced special videos on the subject. They tell a little of their trajectories and indicate actions that can bring changes to the daily lives of black women and girls in Brazil.
“Visibility is a key point for black women of all ages, including the present, the future, and the past, who have fought for freedom and the survival of the black people. Racism and sexism erase black women’s contributions to the country’s development, while covering up human rights violations against black women, preventing the end of inequalities based on race, gender and other forms of oppression and discrimination,” says Nadine Gasman, representative of UN Women Brazil.
According to Ana Carolina Querino, program manager for UN Women, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important date to reaffirm the need to comply with international agreements in Brazil and its reach to different audiences. “UN Women recognizes the creativity and daring of black YouTubers to face racism on the internet and on social networks, often being targeted by virtual racism. Digital platforms have brought new elements to the debate on the needs and ways of life of young black women in particular and of black women in general. These are points of view that have contributed to the reverberation of women’s voices, as well as bringing other demands to the International Decade of Afro-descendants,” says Ana Carolina.
In recent years, a profusion of sites, social media pages, digital magazines, blogs and online video channels have produced new narratives in counterpoint to the racism and invisibility of the black population. On YouTube, several black women starting from personal experiences to promote a qualified debate about how racism, machismo and its consequences affect all aspects of Afro-Brazilian life. Ana Paula Xogani, who works in public relations, Gabi Oliveira, a student of Social Sciences, Nátali Neri, journalist Maíra Azevedo and Sá Ollebar, a mother and trained in human resources, are examples of protagonists for the conquests of these spaces.
Another outstanding initiative is the channel Tá bom pra você, created by the actress, writer and screenwriter Kenia Maria, named Defender of the Rights of Black Women of UN Women Brazil on this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She, her husband Érico Brás (actor), and Gabriela and Mateus Dias speak in a relaxed and irreverent way about the scarcity of black women and men in Brazilian advertising. The space was launched three years ago and the videos already have almost 200 thousand views.
The goal of the YouTubers Negras na Década Internacional de Afrodescendentes project is to highlight the positive role of black women leaders in developing activities to address racism and racial discrimination. The initiative is part of the strategy “Mulheres Negras Rumo a um Planeta 50-50 em 2030” (Black Women Towards a Planet 50-50 in 2030), for the empowerment of black women and the fight against racial and ethnic discrimination as the primary conditions for achieving the objectives of the International Decade of Afro descendants (2015- 2024) in articulation with the Agenda 2030 de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Sustainable Development Agenda 2030), adopted by the UN Member States, and the global initiative Por um Planeta 50-50 em 2030 (For a 50-50 Planet in 2030): a decisive step forward for UN gender equality.
Decade – Proclaimed by the UN in October 2015, the International Decade of Afro-descendants (2015-2024) reinforces the commitment of the United Nations to promote the human rights of the world’s black population by recognizing that, as victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, this population remains exposed to the consequences that have a decisive impact on its human development. To watch the videos, simply access the channel of the jovens negras (young black girls) in the social network or follow the official pages of UN Women Brazil on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.