Samba Roots: What was the historical significance of black women in samba?

Black Women of Brazil


Note from BW of Brazil: Studying the history of samba is a key element to understanding the struggle of Afro-Brazilians. From its beginnings, the musical genre that would later become Brazil’s most popular exponent of culture was persecuted and scorned upon by government officials, police and elites of the society. Samba was, as many saw it, “uma coisa do negro”, or a ‘black thing’. In the 1920s and 1930s, musicians of the style were considered low life vagabonds and violently oppressed by police. As Reneé Critcher Lyons (2012) confirms that this music that was first produced and consumed in the favelas (slums on the hills) but in public gatherings these musicians were chased and driven off the streets by police. They would often have their homes raided and guitars confiscated by the police. But this repression was met with strong resistance by Afro-Brazilians who didn’t let themselves be intimidated, battered but…

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