Actress Cris Vianna and the importance of having black dolls; even with them being rare in Brazil, she has a collection of about 60-70 black dolls!

I was fortunate to have at least three Black dolls when I was a kid! They are becoming more and more available to children worldwide, and that’s excellent.

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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: One of these days I must meet the actress Cris Vianna! I’m really not much into what Brazil has to offer in terms of its media, but I would love to sit and pick Cris’s brain for an hour or two. She is one of the most beautiful women on television plus, even not necessarily coming across as a militant, she strikes me as someone who really “gets it”. What I mean is, she isn’t afraid to speak on issues of race, she always represents black beauty well on the small screen, has been in a long-term relationship with a very dark-skinned black man for a number of years and now I learn that she is an avid collector of black dolls! I don’t expect Cris to be on the front lines leading any protests against the ongoing slaughter of black youth, but…

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Singer Luedji Luna earns three nominations at the Caymmi Music Awards recognizing the best of Bahian musicians

This post illustrates why most reviews are meaningless to me: the people who write them are only interested in maintaining the boring, insular status quo. They could care less about putting the spotlight on talented up-and-comers who could use a little boost! Sad to say, that is a common reality amongst the creative arts – the deck is stacked against most.

Black Women of Brazil

1 Photo: Nti Uirá

Note from BW of Brazil: I learned many years ago that some of the best artists in music are those whose names are not plastered on the covers of every magazine, constantly featured on talk shows, sell out huge revues or get hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. On the one hand, it’s a shame because so many of us won’t even know of the existence of some great artists. But on the other hand, when you discover such artists you sometimes feel that the artist’s music is your own little secret for your own little world. Once upon a time I remember only listening to those artists whose music made it onto the Top 10 list of some music chart. But in the past few decades, I have found myself becoming more and more distant from what is usually defined as Top 40 music…

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Where are the Afro-Brazilians in history books? 17 black people that you never learned about in school

This is an all-too-common practice, unfortunately. The “white-washing” of history is shameful and needless. Ignorant, narrow-minded colonials with supremacist beliefs wish to erase and eliminate the rich heritage and culture of non-white peoples worldwide.

Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: Today’s article is short, right to the point and something that my research and experiences on/in Brazil demonstrate why such material is important. The first reason is something I’ve mentioned in a previous post. On my very first trip to Brazil, I went to Salvador, Bahia, a city that is considered the country’s center of African culture. Within a few days of my arrival, one of my friends who was acting as my guide in the city along with a young man I had become acquainted with shortly thereafter took me to a small restaurant in the city’s historic Pelourinho district. In this small restaurant, I saw a photo of the great intellectual and anthropologist Lélia Gonzalez. As I stood in awe of the photo, my two companions wondered why I was looking at the photo. Neither of the two had any idea who…

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The daughter of a street vendor, Mahany Pery from São Gonçalo in Rio de Janeiro, becomes the darling of the fashion industry

It’s always inspiring and refreshing to see a new (super)model, who I can relate to, breaking into the fashion industry!
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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: What words come to mind when you look at this young lady? Gorgeous? Striking? Lovely? Stunning? I’m sure as people fixate on her photos, more adjectives will surely emerge. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a story about a Brazilian-born black model and when I come across them they automatically receive a place here! What I find even more newsworthy about Mahany’s story, besides her humble origins, is the fact that she’s found such success with such an African phenotype. As Brazil has always favored its more European-looking African descendants, her arrival on the world stage should be celebrated even more (see note one). After all, if the dreams of the nation’s 19th-century elite had come true, people who look like Mahany wouldn’t even exist! This planning for a whiter Brazil has been discussed in a number of previous posts, so today, let’s…

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The final pillar of the debunked ‘racial democracy’? Post-doctorate research project exposes racism and racial hierarchies within interracial families

Too few people ever truly examine the disease of racism within themselves, much less how they became infected with it. This article discusses how bigotry, racism, and self-hatred manifest in multi-cultural families. I’ve certainly seen it up close and personal in my own family!
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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: In reality, I don’t know why this research would come as a surprise to anyone who has studied the issues of race and racism in Brazil. Maybe if one were to seriously believe the rhetoric about race relations it could come as a surprise. After all, popular discourse among millions of Brazilians posits that racism cannot exist because of the existence of so many interracial couples. Or that, as Brazilians are all mixed, “somos todos iguais” (we are all equal). We’ve already seen so many examples of how racism functions in Brazilian society (in the labor market, in the media, or in schools, for examples)  that anyone who seriously denies the existence of white supremacy would come across as either blatantly lying, in denial or openly attempting to cover up the facts. 

In reality, the truth about how racism…

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“I want more Black women to feel beautiful just the way they are”: With inspiration from Mozambique, Ana Paula Xongani’s clothing line focuses on Black beauty

I love this! Uplifting and inspiring.
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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: If you’ve been following news out of Black Brazil for any amount of time you must’ve noticed that there is a sort of ‘fever’ catching on among Afro-Brazilians. Particularly among entrepreneurs, this fever that continues to spread is leading more and more Afro-Brazilians to stop waiting on a market that seems intent on ignoring their existence, culture and particular tastes, doing for self and tapping into a segment of consumer that is starving to represent with African and Afro-Brazilian styles that proudly show off ancestral origins. Designer Ana Paula Xongani is one of the women leading the charge and judging from the piece below, it’s only a matter time before her business blows up! Much success to you Ana Paula, keep it movin’!!

“I’ve never straightened my hair”, says afro fashion designer

Get to know the story of Ana Paula Xongani, whose clothing brand…

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March 8th – Black women and pension reform: With drastic proposed changes to retirement, International Women’s Day takes on a new meaning

A pertinent, timely post for International Women’s Day – excellent information, here.

Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: Today, March 8th, we pause in recognition of International Women’s Day. The struggle of black women of Brazil against racism, sexism, violence and social inequality has long been documented, but with the installation of the current government, after the overthrow of the nation’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, and the proposals of draconian measures disguised as methods to save and revive the future of the economy, many Brazilians, particularly black women, are being faced with new challenges that directly affect their lives and the ability to retire at a reasonable age in dignity. For this reason, I will amend a tried and true slogan: The struggle MUST continue!!

March 8th: Black women and pension reform

By Juliana Borges*

March 8th, International Women’s Day, is approaching in a worrying international and national situation, which ends up expanding its symbolism and representation of struggle.

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New generation of black women are putting the stereotype of the Carnival dancer in check in Rio de Janeiro

I’m of the belief that like-minded Black women from both North and South America could move mountains for great causes!

Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: If there is one thing that I’ve learned continuously in studying history and viewpoints; we must always consider the other side of the story in order to get a full understanding of any given topic. Sometimes we will agree with alternative viewpoints, sometimes we will disagree. In some cases, the debate is more valuable than the conclusion itself! And as I’ve written in other posts, I am always willing to present different views so as to give my readers a balanced understanding of the issue at hand. It’s not possible for an audience that has little experience with a given topic to understand what is at stake unless they can see both or all perspectives on any particular topic. The best example I can provide is the topics this blog covers. While the focus is on black women of Brazil, for readers outside of Brazil…

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Whites still make up 90% of Brazilian advertising, but three recent commercials featuring Afro-Brazilians provide a glimmer of hope for racial diversity

Hope springs eternal…fair representation just might be a reality in my lifetime!
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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: One post (among many) revealed a fact that is quite shocking: “In Brazilian advertising, more than 90% of the protagonists continue to be white.” Anyone who has taken time to analyze commercials (as well as programs) on Brazil’s television stations from the racial perspective could tell you this. It’s really not that hard to see. Anyone who has visited Brazil  will surely not see the country as a majority white nation (well, maybe if they visited the southern region of the country), but that’s not the idea one would get from the media. Nothing new here.

6 Recent C&A commercial for the Verão Misturado campaign

After, didn’t I tell you that “black women account for only 1% of the protagonists in Brazil’s TV commercials”? Or that there exists a fear “that white women won’t buy a product if the girl in the ad…

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“Bonecas Pretas” (black dolls) video by Bahian singer Larissa Luz gives voice to the rising demand for black representation in the toy market

Saturday spotlight: Little-discussed topics, pertinent to those of us who are under-represented. Perfect post for Black History Month!
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Black Women of Brazil

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Note from BW of Brazil: The struggle continues…and voices demanding change, equality and representation also continue to grow! The fact that I have documented for the past five years is that black Brazilians are extremely under-represented in countless areas of Brazilian society. The media is a near complete whitewash. Politics is the home of white supremacy in which very few black aspiring politicians manage to enter the game. The toy market is yet another area in which more and more black voices are calling for more representation. If any of us care to think about it, very few of us can remember having had the opportunity to play with black dolls. In the world of the child’s imagination, how is a black child supposed to dream of seeing him or herself in the place of the superhero action figure or model doll when the overwhelming majority of…

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