Monthly Archives: December 2014
In homage to the upcoming Day of Black Consciousness, dancer/model Nayara Justino does a photo shoot in African garb
Note from BW of Brazil: First of all, let me just say that it’s really good to see this layout. For those of you who may not be familiar with this young lady, let me give a brief background. Every year as Brazil’s world famous Carnaval season gets closer, the country’s top television network, Rede Globo, begins saturating the airwaves with the black woman known as the Globeleza. Dancing the samba and gyrating basically naked save for the body paint on her body. These short vignettes are aired several times per day as the countdown to Carnaval winds down. The title of Globeleza, while coveted by some women, is repudiated by other black women who see the depiction of a naked, gyrating black woman as simply a re-enforcement of one of the “places” that black women have long held in by Brazilian society, the other being the maid.
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For the love of natural black hair: Bahian woman wins the first ever Miss Black Power Brasil contest!
Note from BW of Brazil: All I can say is “rock, rock on sistas!” Mad love to the efforts of so many black women throughout Brazil who have fought anti-African, racist sentiments of a Brazilian society that has always defined Afro-textured kinks, naps and curls as ugly or “cabelo ruim”, meaning “bad hair”. The last decade or so has seen a growing revolution wherever one finds people of African descent in Brazil (1). Across the country, women (and men) are saying, “it is not my hair that is bad; it is your racism!”
“My hair isn’t bad; bad is your racism”
This is not to say that the Euro-centric aesthetic doesn’t still dominate the minds of millions of afrodescendente women, but this dictatorship and imposition of only straight hair being acceptable has in recent years been challenged as it never has been before in Brazil’s history. If you’ve…
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Jongo: The dance and rhythm that is the living memory of black ancestors in Brazil
Note from BW of Brazil: A great and timely post today considering that November is the Month of Black Consciousness in Brazil. Much is often said about Brazil’s debt to Africa, not only in its culture, the many words in the Portuguese spoken by Brazilians, but in the very veins, faces, skin colors and DNA of its people, whether they identify as black, afrodescendente or not. The word Samba, Brazil’s most popular musical rhythm, was derived from the word semba, a word common to many West African bantu languages (1). Below, become familiar another of Brazil’s enduring cultural practices that have been kept alive for centuries by the descendants of Africans brought to the land that would come to be known as Brazil centuries ago. Be sure to also check out the videos at the end of the article.
Jongo: The living memory of black ancestors in Brazil
by Kauê Vieira
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Shango & Obatala
Howard University replaced the US Flag with a Black solidarity flag today. At half mast
Toña la Negra
Afro-Mexican María Antonia del Carmen Peregrino known to the world as Toña ‘La Negra was born in 1912 in Veracruz, Mexico, a place where alongside Costa Chica you find the most amount of black people in Mexico. Toña ‘La Negra’ began singing at social events, music competitions and carnivals at an early age.
In 1932, when she was 20, she moved with her husband and child to Mexico City and started singing in a place called El Retiro. It wasn’t long before she was discovered by the star-maker of the day, radio station XEW.
Soon after, Toña La Negra met one of Mexico’s biggest songwriters, Agustin Lara, and her career took off. Legend has it that Lara was the one who named her Toña La Negra.
Writer Rafael Figueroa says Lara found his muse in Toña La Negra. And she became the vehicle for his musical exploration of the black contribution to Mexican culture.
Agustin Lara composed Bolero music for Toña La Negra to sing which Like the mambo, danzón, and other song types originated in Cuba, The Mexico City film and music boom of the 40s and 50s drew many of the Cuba’s great artists across the Gulf with their music “And according to writer Rafael Figueroa, Lara wanted to show his appreciation to black music and it’s roots by not only writing songs to black music, but by having a black singer from Mexico sing them.
From the early 1930s to the mid-50s,Toña La Negra focused on performing, making records and radio shows and first became famous by her interpretation of Lara’s song “Enamorada”, he also wrote “Lamento Jarocho” specially for her to sing. She also sang for the famous Sonora Matancera, recording two numbers in the studio with this musical institution. The alley where she was born in the old barrio of “La Huaca” in the city of Veracruz, México, carries her name.
Toña ‘La Negra’ died in 1982, but she remains a national musical icon, after her death the municipality of Veracruz has erected a statue of Toña la Negra within sight of the old church of Cristo del Buen Viaje (1609) bordering on the La Huaca barrio. The German film director Christian Baudissin made a documentary about Toña la Negra for television in 1993 that included interviews with her ex-husband the musician “Vittillo” Victor Ruiz Pazos, singer Tania Libertad and others who knew her.