As was the case during 2014’s World Cup, Brazil is once again center stage as the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro captures massive attention, and it’s a very curious thing that Brazil — like many of its neighbors in Latin America — has done an effective job of making its African-descended population mostly invisible to the outside world.
Brazil is 53 percent non-white, the website Black Women of Brazil reports, yet the image most often associated with Brazilians is a wavy-haired, deeply tanned, well-proportioned model – male or female – with chiseled European facial features.
Many of us know that Pele, the world’s greatest soccer player of all time, was a Black Brazilian. Slightly fewer might have heard that Brazil was the first site where Europeans – specifically the Portuguese – used enslaved Africans to farm and mine (occupied) land in the Western hemisphere.
So many Africans were transported to Brazil that it has the largest population of Blacks outside the African continent, ranking second to Nigeria in a comparison of nations.
In this day and time, movies are one of the most popular ways that we learn about cultures we are unfamiliar with. So let’s take a moment during the Olympic Brazilian media blitz to explore the different perspectives Afro-Brazilian filmmakers have shared about their long history in the African Diaspora.