Brazil has now gotten its own form of BET to give a voice to its large population of Black Brazilians of African decent. Let’s hope they learn from the mistakes of BET & truly serve as the voice of its Black people in their totality & not just become the exploiters of Black stereotypes. As the battle of race & race relations in America looms on, Brazil is going thru its own battle with color that separates the Brazilians into Black & White. The Black Brazilians however have kept, celebrated & maintained their African heritage close to their hearts & have incorporated it to mainstream Brazilian life beyond the many years past from the slave trade that brought their ancestors to Brazil as slaves for their Portuguese masters.
I have known many Brazilians in my lifetime, but never really felt the need to differentiate them as Black or White, just Brazilians. I guess as an outsider looking in I just saw the difference in treatment of different Brazilians along the lines of socio-economic class not color, as it exists in the continent of Africa & other third world countries. In this day & age of what I see as our common global fusions, where sometimes I can not tell apart a White or Black person from Africa, America, Europe or Brazil until they speak or make me aware of their cultural background, is there a real need for such differentiation along color lines especially in the media?
Channels like BET to me have rather done a disservice to Black people by giving mainstream media an excuse not to incorporate , look for & attain programming that appeals to Blacks because after all we have an entire network solely dedicated to serving the Black community without having to consider the general population of Americans, even though BET still does not provide the type of programming that the vast majority of Black Americans want to see on a daily basis as representative of them. This has become a hinderance in the bettering of race relations & inclusion of Blacks in the mainstream media rather than serving as a true hub & model for mainstream media to be able to serve Black America as a whole in the balance of serving Americans in general. Does the ends truly justify the means?
To me this type of separation in America has allowed mainstream media execs. to automatically characterize any TV/film or music done by Black people or with a majority Black cast as solely & specifically for a limited Black audience while it is not done to Whites. You can go to theaters in Black neighborhoods & see films with solely White casts while often theaters in White neighborhoods don’t show films with predominately or solely Black casts. You can listen to so called Black radio & hear songs by White artists like Justin Timberlake, but many Black artists do not get the same opportunity on White radio stations which they do not even categorize as White radio stations even though they do not play any Black artists’ music. While there may be a demand for specific niches in media, we must be careful of our own self-separations along color lines when the ultimate goal is for equality amongst one people of one nation! I am waiting to see if this station dedicated to solely serving Black Brazilians will run into the same issues as we see here in America.
Black Pride in Brazil- Salvador de Bahia
Black TV Channel Ignites Ire in Brazil
“Some accuse the ‘Our Channel’ initiative of racism…A Brazilian TV channel dedicated especially to black people has been provoking controversy. Not only Brazil, but parts of Europe, the western U.S., Asia and Angola have been watching “Canal da Gente,” or “Our Channel,” since Nov. 20, 2005. The owner of this enterprise costing 12 million Brazilian Reals (U.S.$5.2 million) is the Brazilian singer Netinho de Paula, well-known for singing “pagode,” a kind of music similar to samba that is very popular in Brazil. The focus of the controversy is the accusation that the channel is racist. All the programming is aimed toward black people; the presenters are black and 50 percent of the company’s staff are composed of black people. ”I think it’s legitimate that a channel specialize in sports, politics, sex, religion and any another type of segmentation. I don’t agree with a channel segmented for race, color, or religion. Therefore, this means racial discrimination for me,” argues Flavio Porcello, a journalist with a long experience in Brazilian TV and television education, in an interview with OhmyNews. Surfing on the Internet, it is possible to find many forums and blogs talking about the controversy of “TV da Gente.” Created as a space for black people to identify with and, according to its owner, to promote racial diversity in Brazilian television, this channel began with a violent incident. On the day of its inauguration, when Brazil was celebrating the “National Day of Black Conscience,” a comic reporter called Rodrigo Scarpa — nicknamed “Vesgo,” who works on a program called “Panico na TV” — asked de Paula, “So, Netinho, does this mean you will open your channel to everybody?” The question, full of meaning, annoyed the singer and he physically attacked the reporter. He then said: “This is a black party!” and expelled the reporter. During the party’s speech, de Paula admitted that he beat up the reporter and said if necessary, he would do the same again…” READ MORE
“Brazil’s first black television channel tackles legacy of 300 years of slavery.With non-white faces a rarity in media and politics, a new station aims to bridge racial divide…From 1550 to 1888 the Portuguese shipped at least 3 million slaves into Brazil. Most came from the African colonies of Angola and Mozambique. They were put to work in the north-east’s sugar plantations, but thousands managed to flee and set up quilombos, autonomous cities lived in and run by former slaves. The most famous of them – the Quilombo dos Palmares – was led by Zumbi. Brazil was the last state to officially abolish slavery – in 1888…” READ MORE