Note from BW of Brazil: When you see exclusionary events such as this, you know that racism in Brazil is not simply an accident; it is institutional. How else would you explain a literary event held in a city such as Salvador, Bahia, where 80% of the population classifies itself as “preto” (black) or “pardo” (brown)? For avid reader who happens to be black, visiting any of Brazil’s major book stores would lead them to conclude that black Brazilians and black Brazilian authors don’t exist. It was the same issue that caused an uproar at the country’s principal book literary festival, Flip, in 2016. I stress again, this is why more black publishing companies are necessary, because, although one can acknowledge that some things have improved, because the exclusion of the black population has gone on for so long, even the advances still seem to be baby steps. And one has to wonder if those steps won’t come to a complete pause under this current president.
Literary Showcase in Salvador, Bahia excludes black artists
By Daiane Oliveira
The first capital of Brazil, Salvador, is known worldwide for hosting the largest street carnival on the planet, recorded in Guinness World Records – Book of Records. But it is impossible to think of the city without relating to its blackness, after all 80% of the population composed of blacks and browns, according to data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2017.
For this reason, the Salvador Literary Showcase, taking place on April 13 at the Teatro SESI Rio Vermelho (SESI Rio Vermelho Theater), drew the attention of the soteropolitanos (native of Salvador). Among the writers and digital influencers who will participate in debates and workshops there are no blacks. Consequently, the event began to receive questions through its social networks.
Through the network of relationships, Instagram, the actor Érico Brás criticized the Mostra de Salvador. “This event catches my attention for several factors. But one of these factors is certainly a serious mistake. I mean the systematic absence of blacks in the structure of the event. How can we speak of literature without taking into account the majority parcel of black men andwomen who inhabit the artistic-literary sphere of Salvador? How do you ignore the report of these professionals leaving them outside the debate tables? At this point, holding this type of event, sponsored with public money and at the same time leaving out the literary account of this mostly black city is at least an intellectual-literary failure. “
Faced with popular questioning and the manifestations of artists and writers, such as the poet Lívia Natália, Projeto Lendo Mulheres Negras (black women reading project), Sarau da Onça, Etiene Martins, among others, the Mostra issued an official note admitting the error.
Poet Lívia Natália also expressed her outrage with the following text: “It’s serious that they assembled a “Salvador Literary Showcase” and in the scheduling there are only WHITE authors? Salvador continues being the city-tomb of black men and black women. And I alive standing and proud, I and my black brothers and sisters. We keep on. I don’t need to be in such a superficial and ill-considered event. Congratulations to those involved in the total unpreparedness of @mostraliterariassa, shame on you.”
The Mostra organization states that “it recognizes that in the process of designing the initiative there has been a failure. It also emphasizes that there has never been any intention to curtail participation and reaffirms the willingness to dialogue and welcome criticism,” they said. As a measure of retraction, the organization sought, in an emergency way, to invite black artists and collectives to fill this gap. Sandro Sussuarana from Sarau da Onça was invited and agreed to collaborate in the event.
“When I saw that there was no black author in the showcase, I was outraged, I even posted it on my Instagram making the criticism. I got the call from one of the producers explaining what happened, I understood. As a cultural producer, I know mistakes happen. When it comes to white producers, it was never their profile to have this perspective and guide the participation of authors who are not in their circle of experience. I was prepared to help in the redress of the error and explained the reason for our inquiries, that we were not asking for pittance or even to participate, but that in a mostly black city, authors of this area should at least be contacted about this event,” explained the poet Sandro.
However, participants in Projeto Lendo Mulheres Negras criticized the organization’s solution to invite authors and groups at the last minute. In addition to refusing to attend the Mostra, the participants also positioned themselves in a social network. The late invitation would be “showing not only inelegance and amateurism, but also an absurd lack of research,” they said.
“We black women have a double challenge, being a woman and being black, and that challenge runs through invisibility, which considers our work inferior or less relevant,” adds Evelyn Sacramento, of Lendo Mulheres Negras.
Source: Notícia Preta