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Black Performances and Black Artists Performing in Contemporary Brazil

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Abstract

This chapter approaches black performances and black artists performing in Contemporary Brazil, discussing aesthetics and training of black artists through an examination of the work of the theatre companies Bando de Teatro Olodum (Bahia) and AMOK Teatro (Rio de Janeiro), and the performers and playwrights Grace Passô (Minas Gerais) and Lázaro Ramos (Bahia). Starting from the historical legacy of black artists and groups who proposed the positive affirmation of black image in the Brazilian scene, such as Abdias Nascimento’s Teatro Experimental Negro—TEN (Rio de Janeiro), Leite and Matsumoto investigate intersections between aesthetics and politics in relation to representations of blackness and the challenges of black artists in the diaspora. The inventive paths these have promoted to resist racism and shake the canons of Eurocentrism are explored to reveal ways to resignify representations of black people image and empower black artists on the theatrical scene of contemporary Brazil.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For the formation of the Brazilian people and the contradictions that the process of colonial exploration entails, see Ribeiro (2015), founder of the University of Brasília.

  2. 2.

    In order to respect the author’s wishes as expressed to the Ipeafro, the institute that created and now houses his collection, we have chosen to spell the name as he signed it, Abdias Nascimento, rather than using his official citation name, Abdias do Nascimento. See the note to the 3rd edition of Nascimento (2019).

  3. 3.

    ‘Insubmissos’ here makes reference to the work of Evaristo (2016) that deals with the process of resistance and un-submission of black women to various structures of oppression that surround them both daily and historically.

  4. 4.

    The text is as follows:VerseVerse Oni saurê Aul axé Oni saurê Oberioman Onisa aurê Aul axé baba Oberioman Onisa aurê Baba saurê Aul axé Baba saurê Oberioma Baba saurê Aul axé baba Oberioman Saul axé Man Man Man Man Man Man Man Man Man Man Man Man (Saudação iorubana para Oxalá. Hino do Bando de Teatro Olodum. In Freitas 2014).

  5. 5.

    For syncretism as a strategy of resistance and as a form of black agency, see Sodré (1988).

  6. 6.

    This expression is used by historian Amadou Hampaté Bâ to discuss the dynamism of the oral tradition of African peoples and how this influences their historicity and epistemologies. See Bâ (2010).

  7. 7.

    The congadas or congados are Afro-Brazilian religious cultural manifestations that stage the coronation of Congo kings; for the study on black performances and these folguedos, see Martins (1997).

  8. 8.

    Original passage translated by Ane Karoline.

  9. 9.

    Baldwin was a black and homosexual writer from the United States, who became well known for his work Giovani’s Room written in Paris during his departure for Europe because of the difficulties and persecutions he faced in the process of civil rights in the United States and also for being homosexual, a fact that added to the complexity of his blackness . Baldwin was considered by political personalities as the ambassador of the blacks, for having a versatility of dialogue between blacks and whites and also among blacks that defended currents of thought and lines of action that were opposed to, for example, those of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, which the author had very close. ‘I am not his black’, never finished by the author, was a motto for Raoul Peck’s homonymous documentary that discusses these questions that we present.

  10. 10.

    Ibid. Translated by Ane Karoline.

  11. 11.

    Afronta ! #12—Grace Passô. (Websérie. Direção: Juliana Vicente. Duração: 13min52s. Brazil, produced by de Juliana Vicente e Preta Portê Filmes, 2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiQCtYshfXA. Accessed 16 April 2019.

  12. 12.

    Afronta ! #12—Grace Passô. (Websérie. Direção: Juliana Vicente. Duração: 13min52s. Brazil, produced by Juliana Vicente e Preta Portê Filmes, 2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiQCtYshfXA. Accessed 16 April 2019.

  13. 13.

    Ibid. Original passage in Portuguese translated by Ane Karoline.

  14. 14.

    Ibid. Original passage translated by Ane Karoline.

  15. 15.

    Trailer available in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZkDBYHnyfo. Accessed 16 April 2019.

  16. 16.

    This notion of place of speech can be seen in Ribeiro (2017) and more widely in Foucault (1979).

  17. 17.

    Afronta ! #12—Grace Passô. (Websérie. Direção: Juliana Vicente. Duração: 13min52s. Brazil, produced by Juliana Vicente and Preta Portê Filmes, 2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiQCtYshfXA. Accessed 16 April 2019.

  18. 18.

    Ibid. Original passage translated by Ane Karoline.

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Leite de Aquino Soares, V.H., Matsumoto, R.K. (2021). Black Performances and Black Artists Performing in Contemporary Brazil. In: Morosetti, T., Okagbue, O. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Theatre and Race. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43957-6_15

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