After Brazil’s tumultuous election season last month that resulted in more Black women in State as well as a white supremacist assuming presidency, it comes as a relief that the nation has greeted the resurgence of white supremacy with the celebration of Black life. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Afro Brazilians celebrated Black Consciousness Day, bringing their annual self-declared “Black November” to a close.
With more than 50% of the Brazilian population identifying as Black (without delving too far into the messiness of how the nation defines ‘black’), “negritude” is all too necessary for a state that has a long history of committing political genocide toward its Black inhabitants. A term coined by francophone Black intellectuals in the 1930s out of the literary movement by the same name, negritude is defined today as the “affirmation or consciousness of the value of black/African culture and identity.”
In this article, we will highlight a few of the Afrocentric events Brazil holds to commemorate their ancestors, connect to the motherland, and celebrate the future.
Black Consciousness Day | Nationwide
Black Consciousness Day became a federal holiday in 2003 to be held on 20 Nov of each year. Activists secured this date as it marks the death anniversary of one of the most revered figures of Afro-Brazilian resistance in the country, Zumbi dos Palmares, the Brazilian warrior who fought for the freedom of slaves in Brazil. He was executed by Portuguese military on this day in 1695. Afro Brazilians consider Zumbi to be a martyr and his death became a catalyst for Black resistance even until present day.
Somos Todos Black | Belo Horizonte
Concurrently, from 20 Nov to 25 Nov, the Black population in Belo Horizonte held their third annual “Somos Todos Black” Festival, translated to “We Are All Black.” The festival hosts book launches, performances, talks on the topics of womanhood and mass incarceration and more.
Afro Fashion Day | Salvador Bahia
AFD occurred Saturday 24 Nov with the theme being “Color and Identity.” Inspired by Virgil Abloh, the curators of AFD decided to celebrate vibrant colors against various shades of black skin. It is a deliberate showcase, especially for Black women, to reclaim the colors that society had said is too stark against their complexion.
Feira Preta | Sao Paolo
Translated to “Black Fair,” Feira Preta is in its 17th year. The three day fair is celebrated 18 to 20 Nov and is considered the largest Black cultural event in Latin America. Its attraction resides in its discussions of “afropreneurship” and how the world consumes Afro aesthetics as well as programs such as lectures, poetry slams, concerts, and dance lessons. It brought around 25 thousand visitors.