Aina Madame Garcia, Rio de Janeiro, 28, hair and fashion designer
“In my life I have been surrounded by many black women of all ages, colors and backgrounds, and for me, they were all always completely different, until the day I grew up and realized that, equally to them, I’m completely different from them. And now I’m ready to create my family, have my children to teach everything I learned with them (which was really everything!) and begin to have a little idea of what they really are and I’m sure that every day I am more like them!
Black women are so different, and that’s what makes us all equal! Being a black woman in Brazil is to be strong, tireless, creative. Intelligent, even without academic titles. It is to be mother and father, with or without children. It is being hot as fire that burns or warms and at the same time, like water, that floods or hydrates. Being Afro-Brazilian is to BE! We are and always will be whatever we want.
And always we are everything all at the same time, with a restless and creative force, and every moment of life, never forget where we came from. Hail, Dandara,* Clementina de Jesus** and Laquixá. We come from Africa and not from the ghetto!”
– Translated from the Portuguese from Raça Brasil magazine, Brazil’s only magazine dedicated to the Afro-Brazilian population.
* – Dandara was a black woman warrior of Brazil’s colonial period. She as the wife of Zumbi of Palmares (the greatest black leader of Brazil’s runaway slave societies known as quilombos) also the mother of his three children. Dandara killed herself when she was arrested on February 6th, 1694, in order to not return to slavery. Although there is not much data about the life of Dandara, the stories are legendary. Today, many black women’s organizations and cultural group take their names in memory of Dandara.
** – Clementina de Jesus was an important singer of the popular style of Brazilian Samba known as Partido Alto. She was born in 1901 and began her career at the age of 63. She died in 1987.