afro brazilian


There are more descendants of Africans who speak Spanish or Portuguese than English.

Brazil has the largest population of Blacks in the world second ONLY to Nigeria!

The Caribbean was often a stop in the transatlantic slave trade to “break” the African before being sold to the Americas.

Haiti was the first BLACK independent nation in the Western Hemisphere , defeating Napoleon and others from France, with the power of Voudon (Voodoo). As a result, Haiti ,was punished by all of Europe through tariffs, taxes and other ways!


Jongo: The dance and rhythm that is the living memory of black ancestors in Brazil

Note from BW of BrazilA 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. 

The full story here:  Jongo: The dance and rhythm that is the living memory of black ancestors in Brazil

Jongo: The dance and rhythm that is the living memory of black ancestors in Brazil by Kauê Vieira

Also known as caxambu and corimá, jongo is a dance of African origin and danced to the sound of drums. A part of Afro-Brazilian culture, the rhythm was brought to Brazil by Bantu blacks, kidnapped to be sold as slaves in ancient kingdoms of Ndongo and the Kongo region, comprised today by much of the territory of the Republic of Angola. The dance had a strong influence in shaping the samba and also in popular culture of Brazil as a whole.

(Read more here)

Whitewashing history: Play in Rio de Janeiro inspired by Afro-Brazilian historical figures but portrayed by white actors!

Note from BW of Brazil: Incredible! These people NEVER give up! The latest controversy coming out of Brazil involving black (mis)representation and history is neither new or surprising. As has been the modus operandi for decades (or centuries depending on how you look at it), Brazilian society continuously comes up with new ways to make its black population invisible and whitewash its memory all under the guise of “we’re all equal” while simultaneously promoting its whitening agenda. There’s a lot of history in the backdrop of today’s piece of which our readers will need to be familiar with in order to get the full impact of this latest controversy. Start here:

On the historic persecution of Afro-Brazilian cultural practices and “ethnic cleansing” of Rio see here.

On the importance of historic figure Tia Ciata, see here.

Accusations of cultural appropriation, diminishing of black representation in major media extravaganzas and stereotypical representation are as Brazilian as capoeira andacarajé have been ongoing for a number of years. But what is so frustrating and disrespectful is the fact that elite whites feel quite comfortable stealing “borrowing” facets of Afro-Brazilian culture that so many ancestors were persecuted for when they defended their very right to practice them. A blatant slap in the face, whites/elites continue to persecute black Brazilians for their “uncivilized” cultural endeavors (as we’ve seen in recent violence against Candomblé adherents) but always seem to find ways to profit from it and rock the styles when they feel the need. It seems that everything associated with black Brazil is disgusting unless its wrapped in white skin. And that goes for funk, Afro-Brazilian religious deities and images, turbans, Axé music and even asses. This besides Brazilian society’s ongoing desire to present the country as a white nation, which is in line with its century and half goal of whitening the population.

All of this is also very telling as just last month in São Paulo we witnessed another controversy and debate over the right to display, accept and reject images that may be offensive to Afro-Brazilians. Now, here we go again in Rio! A special shout out to journalist Marcos Romão over at Mamapress for shedding light on this controversy!

See the full report here: Whitewashing history: Play in Rio de Janeiro inspired by Afro-Brazilian historical figures but portrayed by white actors!

Black History Month- Day 7 (Latino Edition)

Benedita Souza da Silva Sampaio (born in Rio de Janeiro, 26 April 1943) is a Brazilian politician. During her life she faced prejudice for her humble origin, but overcoming this, became the first female and Afro-Brazilian governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro and, later, Minister of the said Secretary of State as well in the Government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

According to da Silva her mother’s matriarchal tendencies have profoundly influenced her development. From her, she learned the virtues of independence and self-determination. She grew up in the slum or Favela of Chapéu Mangueira in Copacabana. Growing up in an urban setting allowed her to read and write unlike some of her siblings who grew up in the country. Forced by circumstances, she found herself a victim of child labor, which was common in her region. Silva underwent a difficult childhood, being exposed to rape at the age of seven, several miscarriages, and having a baby which died soon after birth. At 16 she started working with the community school of the Chapéu Mangueira favela. She also established a women’s association in the favela where she lived and a women’s branch of the Rio de Janeiro Federation of Slums. She also found time to work as a nursing aide and study Social Studies. Moreover, at the age of forty, Da Silva received her high school diploma, and began to attend college at the same time as her 20 year-old daughter. During this period she also married a man named Manshino.

After Manshino’s death, Da Silva became involved in community service where she met her second husband Bola. Bola inspired her politically and coordinated her campaign, which resulted in Da Silva’s historic election as the first Workers’ Party governor in Rio. Five years later, Da Silva became a widow for the second time. She would later meet her new husband, the actor Pitanga, as she campaigned for as a senator candidate. These relationships and the dynamics of Brazilian life combined with her activism propelled Da Silva to political prominence and controversy.

She did so at a time when both women and black people were not visible in Brazil’s political process. Neither the loss of two husbands, nor the hostility of the Brazilian press deterred her politically. Today, she is an advocate of women’s rights both in Brazil and Latin America. Egalitarianism is her goal, not just for her constituents but to persons everywhere who are adversely affected by prejudice and poverty. According to da Silva, “Racial democracy only exists in school books and official speeches; the elite in Brazil have promoted the myth of racial harmony to make people accept certain forms of discrimination and to deny the need for affirmative action.” As a member of the African diaspora which came to the Americas as a result of the Maafa, and which stills suffer discrimination around the world based in the social relations constructed thereafter, Mrs. Da Silva’s career is an important figure to the guarantee the benefits of full citizenship for racial and minorities in Latin America.

This Indie Film Merges Afro-Futurism & Ancestral Spirituality - Saint Heron
Indie film 'Ori Inu: In Search of Self' is the perfect coming of age story and collision of Afro-Futurism and ancestral spirituality.

In the majestic land of coming of age, Afro-Futurism and black girl magic presents us with Natalia, an 18-year-old Afro-Brazilian who is faced with a conflict not too unfamiliar to most of us. In the film, Ori Inu: In Search of Self, we follow the character’s internal conflict of dealing with two seemingly different worlds in order to gain a better understanding of self. As a child in Brazil, Natalia is greatly influenced by the religion Candomble, one that is banned and forbidden to be practiced publicly. After being forced to move to America, Natalia is conflicted on staying true to her Brazilian roots versus assimilating to a Christian culture. The film creates the perfect collision of Afro-futurism and ancestral spirituality in this Afro-Diasporic film as Natalia is visited often by Orisha, Yemaya, Goddess of the Sea while also being pressured into Christianity by both her mother and boyfriend.

Filmmaker, producer, director and co-writer Chelsea Odufu, along with her brother co-writer Emann Odufu, aim to remove negative stigmas placed on traditional African religions, and critique ideas of cultural and religious supremacy and intolerance of anything different in our society. In a director’s statement released at the film’s trailer premiere in September, Chelsea states:

“Additionally, this film reflects the immigrant experience in America and combats the idea that it is necessary to shed aspects of your own heritage in order to assimilate into a monolithic idea of what it means to be an American.”

Ori Inu: In Search of Self is an innovative and revolutionary film inspired by the Black Arts Movement in the 1960’s. The film includes Tony Award winning actress Tonya Pinkins as well as other notable up-and-coming actors such as Trae Harris. The film will feature performances by OSHUN as well as the Grammy-nominated group Les Nubians. The film is backed largely by the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art in Brooklyn where the trailer release was also held in September. The release date has yet to be determined.


The Summer of Gods is a short film (20 minute runtime) about a troubled girl named Lili who unites with her Afro-Brazilian religious ancestry on a summer visit with family to their ancestral village in rural Brazil. Soon after her arrival, she encounters Orishas (African gods) who join with her grandmother to help her find peace with a gift that has previously vexed her. The film is set in the Northeast of Brazil where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions remain strong. Lili’s Grandma is a well revered local priestess who honors the Orishas. Lili is blessed by the goddesses as well. To preserve tradition, they lead her on a mystical adventure through a nearby forest which symbolizes her initiation into the tradition.



Maria is a photography project created by Turkish photographer Pinar Yolaçan. Pinar traveled to the Brazilian Island of Ithaparica in the state of Bahia, a 40 minute boat ride from the capital city of Salvador. The subjects of her portraits are all Afro-Brazilian women ranging from the ages of twenty-seven and ninety. 

“I found a lot of inspiration in the African culture: Salvador was once the largest port for the slave trade in the New World, and while Ithaparica is one the poorest islands in Brazil’s rural northeast, people seemed very eccentric and sophisticated.”

[Mara is] a very common Portuguese name of course, and is either the first or second name of almost all the women I photographed in Bahia, and of course, the icon of Mary is ever-present in Bahia. Women wear necklaces with the Virgin Mary’s face on them and decorate the walls of their homes and stores with her image. Obviously none of my models look like these traditional depictions of Maria, so I am referring to this religious icon when I call the women Maria. The title is also a commentary on the colonial process of renaming (or creating an identity for) people.”

“The women’s garments are made out of fabric I bought in local fabric stores and of placenta and other animal parts that I bought in Salvador’s São Joaquim market. I was particularly interested in placenta because it’s a female organ that develops during birth. Most of the clothes are inspired from the Baroque era and Portuguese colonial style architecture in Salvador. There is also lots of draping - similar to biblical statues.”

- Pinar Yolaçan