In Brazilian novellas, Brazil is an all-white country with a couple of happy-to-be-poor black people

Brazil’s Globo TV company is producing a new novella called “Sexo e as negas (“Sex and denials“), about a group of four black women living in a lower-class neighbourhood in the Zona Norte of Rio de Janeiro, loosely based on Sex and the City.

Instead, however, of it being about four white women working prominent jobs in Manhattan, the wealthiest neighbourhood in the wealthiest country on earth, the four black characters are poor (but glamorous), and work as a cleaner, a seamstress, a manual labourer and a cook.

sexo-e-as-negras like sex and the city, but with black girls in Rio

(Also don’t search that title on Google, or you’ll come up with a lot of naughty pictures).

Despite Brazil having a huge share of black people in prominent and senior positions (including a potential future black female president in Marina Silva), Globo’s novellas on TV prefer to cast black people in poor, subservient roles where they are the comic foil or lackey. Black men and women are cleaners, manual labourers or shop assistants in the world of Globo scriptwriters.

That’s if black people feature at all in the novellas.  Despite Brazil being the second most-populous country in the world for black people (over fifty-per-cent of Brazilians identify themselves as black), novellas are predominantly dramas based in a Brazil where only white people exist.

In the latest smash-hit novella from Globo, Meu Pedacinho de Chão, here is the main cast (which you’ll notice doesn’t feature any black characters at all):

Meu pedacinho de chao, the rest of the predominantly-white cast

 

And here’s the black character:

Meu pedacinho de chao's diapo, the one black character is a clown...

And here’s the female lead protagonist, just because:

Meu pedacinho de Chao seio hot Brazilian novella girl with huge breasts on TV

The cast is whiter than milk, which obviously doesn’t represent the real Brazil. In fact, the characters are so white it only represents the small contingent of European descendant Brazilians that live in southern Brazil and still have blue eyes and blonde hair. They’re a tiny percentage of Brazil’s population (think Gisele), but they receive the most amount of attention on TV, are considered the most glamorous and hold the most senior positions.

The majority of Brazilians are a mix of caramel, coffee and chocolate skin colours.  Most of them aren’t that poor; they hold down jobs and buy cars and drink beers and speak other languages and have dreams.  but Globo doesn’t want to portray that side, which is pretty sinister and cruel when you think of the insane popularity these shows have in Brazil and what that would do to a person’s psyche.

For Globo, it’s everyone in their place, forever, and for black people, that means staying poor and pathetic.

 

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6 thoughts on “In Brazilian novellas, Brazil is an all-white country with a couple of happy-to-be-poor black people”

  1. You’ve chosen a bad sample with this novella you showed the most, called “Meu pedacinho de chão”. Indeed the brazilian novellas reinforce our social inequality but the pictures you posted are mainly from a soap opera that had a plot to show how we were built up from an unequal society(in a fantasy world, of course). But I do agree Globo reproduces that really bad standart, it was just a bad sample choice, I guess.
    Do not defame my beloved “meu pedacinho de chão”! 😥 hahaha ❤

    1. Haha, sorry I picked a soap opera you love, Elisa.

      But if the novella’s idea is to show how Brazil was built up from an unequal society it should still have more black people in it, no? Is it not a whitewash of Brazil’s history, a distortion of how brutal the foundation of Brazil (and other countries which endorsed slavery for a long time) really was?

      But maybe I need another example, yes! If you have any please let me know.

  2. “Negar” is a verb – the act of denial, indeed. But in the phrase “Sexo e as negas”, the word “negas” is referring to black people – same case as the american “nigger”, as in “Meu nêgo”, “minha nêga”, my nigga. So it can be translated as “Sex and the niggas”, though its only half as offensive, as this didn’t bring up much heat as it probably would in USA culture.

  3. Ridiculous text. The author couldn’t even correctly translate the title of the mini series based on the lives of Black women. There are more than 3 people who are European and Indigenous miscegenation in the picture you tried to use as an example. You don’t know anything about Brazilian History.
    Brazil had 3.2 million Natives in 1498 when the first Portuguese set foot on Brazilian territory, about 3 quarters of them died from smallpox, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, measles and the flu, besides warfare genocide. The rest were assimilated into hinterland towns or pushed to the border with Hispanic countries or the Amazon basin. Between 1550 and 1850 3.6 million slaves were brought from Africa, most of them males and the mortality rate was high during the colonial period. Between 1550 and 1790 Brazil received a million Europeans and between 1824 and 1940 over 6 million Europeans. After the 1950s Brazil received other 4 million Europeans. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century Brazil received 48 thousand Ashkenazi Jews. After 1908 the country received 270 thousand Japanese people and after the 1950s hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese. During the 20th century the nation also received around 500 thousand Christian Levantine Arabs from Lebanon and Syria. In the second half of the 20th century other smaller waves from diverse regions in Asia also migrated to Brazil.
    The country is also home to a large Anusim Crypto Jewish population from the Dutch Brazil period, when some of those moved to New Amsterdam in the 1600s, today’s NYC forming the first Jewish community in the US, and Brazil is also home to one of the largest Roma or Gypsy populations on the planet.
    Curiously, Brazil also received around 20 thousand American Confederates during the Reconstruction period in the US who established several towns in São Paulo and the South of Brazil.

    Today half of the pardo Multiracial population or 21% of Brazil is made of caboclo people, citizens whose DNA span from 70% to 90% European markers with the other markers being for Indigenous assimilation, those people’s phenotype is similar to Jessica Alba and Taylor Lautner.

    1. Hi there,

      I didn’t want to correctly translate the title of the mini series because, as another commenter has mentioned, it is incredibly racially insensitive.

      Thank you for the Brazilian history information – the country has a rich and diverse culture!

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