What is it to be a black woman in Brazil? Part 5

Maria Gal (Gal Quaresma), 35, actress and cultural entrepreneur from the city of São Paulo
“The history of black women in Brazil has been marked by violations of their rights and numerous forms of disrespect since the days of slavery when many were used in various types of slave labor, this when they weren’t raped by their ‘masters’. Today, what’s changed? What is being a black woman in Brazil?
How many black actresses, directors, writers, entrepreneurs, writers, journalists, playwrights and producers do we know? A number that certainly does not reflect the quantitative reality of Brazil. A reflection of this past history? This too!
As an example, let’s take an important means of communication and art: the movies. According to research conducted by filmmaker Viviane Ferreira through the database of two important sites about (Brazil’s) national cinema, we have the following data: Screenwriters, 5 white women and no black women writers, 13 white women film producers and none black, 42 white women directors and no black female directors, 289 white actresses and 20 black. Why can’t a black actress play the role of a successful businesswoman with a family or any other character in order to escape the conventional stereotypes?
For me, being a woman, black and a Brazilian citizen, the first step is the awareness of this reality. But not just to stand there with folded arms complaining of lack of space and opportunity or living as if you’re in a battlefield, but to present the world in many different ways a paradigm shift in relation to the black woman, be it is when I’m acting or when I am undertaking a project. Let’s occupy the space that one day, many thought, or think we that we cannot hold: the university, library, theater, cinema, television, the government … Let’s occupy them, using all the creativity, dignity and wisdom. As a black woman in Brazil and I hope we can – regardless of race or gender – through our role in society contribute to leveraging paradigm shifts beneficial to mankind for generations to come, so we have a more just and democratic Brazil, making good use of the beginning of this new era that has come.”
– Translated from the Portuguese from Raça Brasil magazine, Brazil’s only magazine dedicated to the Afro-Brazilian population.


Source: Black Women of Brazil
About Marques Travae 2900 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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