Festival Latinidades Recap Day 4

Saturday was my last day at the Latinidades Festival and the most exciting. Featuring a play area for kids and a fair vending clothing and beauty products especially for black women, the festival felt like a family affair. There was a fashion show and a children’s space showing the cutest Afro Brazilian children’s show.

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I got to interview Karol Conka, my favorite care free black girl rapper. Her song “Voce Nao Vai” was a big part of the reason I decided to start a blog during my time in Brasil. It’s basically like the prelude to “BBHMM”. ANYWAY…she came through the festival and spoke to everyone and was just a Brazilian ray of sunshine. I adored watching the older women fawn over here. Karol is different because she’s genuine in who she is, she’s cute, bubbly adorable and smart. And a great way to start the long process of learning Portuguese.

I finally got to see “Pelo Malo” the film directed by Mariana Rondon, about a young boy who wants to be a singer but believes he needs to straighten his hair to do so. His mother is recently widowed and dealing with the evolving homosexuality she see’s in her son. The film is hypnotizing as it deals with many different social problems through the life of a 8 year old.

After the film I was able to hang out with the ladies of Tela Preta, a film collective from Bahia. We got ready to see Karol Conka headlining at the Parque Cidade. Her show was an epic way to celebrate everything that Latinidades accomplished with this years’ festival. When she bought a group of young black women on stage to dance with her for her song “Gandaia” I cried. It made me so proud to be black, to be a woman, to be happy in my skin, to be a lover of girl culture and what that means. It was a great time. kc6

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Festival Latinidades Recap Day 3

all pictures in the post were taken by Latinidades staff.

Today was full of awesome panels and awesome shorts.

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“As Minas do Rap” directed by Juliana Vicente (the founder of Preta Porte Filmes, who was featured yesterday) spoke about the history and experience of female rappers in Brasil. Given that rap is still pretty young in Brasil, about 30 years, the film was able to got preety deep in a short time. Karol Conka, Tassia Reis and Negra Li were all featured.

“Cinzas, O Filme” directed by Larissa Fulana de Tal, a Salvador native and friend of mine also screened. It’s about the day in the life of a young black student, Toni. I won’t give it all away, as I plan to write a review of it. But it was a crowd favorite.

“Somos Krudas” directed by Mario Troncoso was a surprise favorite of mine. Perhaps it was the English subtitles, or maybe because it was about a queer music making couple from Cuba, but this timely short about the revolution within the revolution within the revolution bought tears to my eyes.

10432120_768191979956801_680096297349160789_n        At the panel discussion, “Aesthetic of the Periphery” I realized that the person with the luscious hair was in fact Rico Dalasam an up and coming queer rapper. He talked about his relationship with the “Periphery” (the favela, the hood, the ghetto, etc) and how it influences who he is. This panel was about the ways alternative images can help show the “Periphery” as more than just a space full of despair and horror.

The film “I love Kuduro” was an illuminating documentary about the Angolian music craze that’s sweeping the world. In this stylish and beautifully composited film we learn the history of Kuduro and how it’s bought a country out of war and into the future.

11224060_768262209949778_527334986708184189_n“Slam Das Pretas” a slam poetry event featuring Afro Latina lesbians from all over Brazil was definitely a crowd pleaser. I could hear the audiences reactions from inside the movie theater.

The night ended with a performance from Tassia Reis. I was introduced to her music in the film “Minas do Rap” that was shown earlier in the day, and was intrigued. She even gave me a hug when I was filming DJ Tamy. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the show that I was to tired to attend, was her show. BLOWN.

In short, yesterday was another great day at Festival Latinidades10410451_768282723281060_278853915898888240_n

Festival Latinidades Recap Day 2

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Today was a day of panel and short films. I woke up too late to see the short film I was eagerly anticipating, “Caixa D’Agua-Qui-Lombo e Esse?” by Everlane Moraes. (Who was recently accepted in the Cuban School of film and is raising money to buy here plane ticket, support her here.) But I was in time to catch an inspiring panel on the Representation of Black Women in Cinema. Juliana Vicente director, producer and founder of “Preta Porte Films” spoke about the importance of black women taking back our image through creating them ourselves. She agreed to speak on camera on what exactly she meant, when she said more black women need to become producers.

“My Name is Now” avaliação filme


traduzido por Davi Nunes

O Filme “Meu nome é agora”, é um documentário dirigido por Elizabete Martins Campos sobre a vida de uma das cantoras mais importante e de voz original que a cultura brasileira já produziu, Elza Soares.

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Elza Soares é samba e ela lembra isso ao mundo em seu novo documentário, “Meu nome é agora”. Elza faz jus à reputação de ser inovadora, usando este doc para falar sobre quem ela é no tempo presente: ao contrário de outros documentários sobre “bad girl”, que relata a trajetória do artista durante toda uma vida, o filme não se concentra na temporalidade dos fatos vividos e marcantes da grande cantora, não é uma lição de vida, não é esse o objetivo.

“Meu nome é agora” se apresenta para o público como um poema visual prolongado, em formato de documentário. É interessante assistir o doc como se fôssemos o espelho de Elza. Ela desvenda tudo. Isto parece ser um forte traço de sua personalidade, ou talvez seja, a transposição brilhante de uma negritude poderosa, explicitada em sua música ou de uma rebeldia constituidora de uma vida grande, latente ainda no agora, no tempo presente.

Momentos memoráveis ​​incluem ver os seus 79 anos, transpostos em um ensaio fotográfico sensual que comprova a sua confiança. Outros incluem olhares demasiado curtos dela como uma criança. Este filme é para os verdadeiros fãs de Elza, assim às vezes como estrangeira eu me senti perdida em certas imagens, como exemplo a polêmica história de amor entre ela o jogador de futebol, Garrincha.

Eu gostaria muito que houvesse um enredo linear para seguir, porque Elza é tão abstrata e difícil de se entender, mas vou admitir que estou intrigada. E a partir de agora vou pesquisar mais sobre ela. De certa forma a história de Elza Soares me fez lembrar, como Norte Americana, (com todas as ressalvas e semelhanças), de Nina Simone. Ambas são mulheres negras geniais, vivendo numa conjuntura social e racial assustadoras

Em conclusão, este filme é uma ótima introdução para a mente mística e filosófica da Deusa, Elza Soares.

“Spiritual Shit” #tbt

Last night I met a beautiful young Afro Brazilian professor who told me she could see my Orisha and she thinks it’s Iamsa. Iamsa is also known as Oya.

Oya/Iamsa is a warrior mother of nine who travels far and takes no shit. She’s the type of mom who’ll kiss her kids goodnight then ride a wave to another dimension, make some money, gain some knowledge, acquire a few lovers, shake some shit up, change everything then bounce. She is wind, hurricanes, tropical storms.  She is the guardian of the gates of death. She is the epitome of feminine power and necessary albeit sudden change. She is devastating. Something that I recently decided I wanted to be.

If Iamsa is my orisha then does that mean I should look to her for advice, direction? I think so. I feel a kinship to her story in regards to travel. It was said that she was married to Ogun before she left him for Shango. She saved his life one time by being inquisitive and since then was able to spit fire out of her mouth. She fights by her lover Shango’s side. Children of Iamsa are said to be outgoing, adventurous, spiritual and have the ability to commune with the dead.

My family has always been very spiritual, many people have dreams of the dead, know when someone is about pass etc. But my loved ones who left have never ever visited me. I was always very hurt about it. I actually prayed that my Dad would visit me in a dream at least, to no avail. I know a lot of dead people and have always felt stalked by death’s presence, like it was just always waiting on me. Technically it is, but I always felt as if it was right around the corner. It wasn’t until I was riding in a bus on a rainy night up the Ecuadorian Amazon, certain that I was going to die that I realized that being in death’s presence doesn’t have to be a bad or scary thing. I think learning more about Oya and her power with help me reconcile my feeling with the various encounters with death. I got a lot of dead people who have to cross over so that I can finally move on and begin to live. Hopefully this process isn’t too scary.

“My Name is Now”

directed by Elizabete Martins Campos
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Elza Soares is samba and she reminds the world in her new documentary, “My Name is Now”.
Elza lives up to her reputation of being groundbreaking by using this doc to talk about who she is now as opposed to she was she was. Unlike other documentaries on bad girl singers whose time has passed, we don’t focus on the life she’s lived, nor is this a history lesson in what she’s done. Our role as the audience in this extended visual poem of a documentary  is interesting, we get to be Elza’s mirror. She bares all, something it seems she’s always done but it’s not for the sake of exhibition-this is more like thug motivation.
Memorable moments include seeing the 79 year old in a lusty photo shoot that proves confidence will always be the singular component of sex appeal. Others include too short glances of her as a child. This film is for true fans of Elza so at times as a gringa I was lost on certain images, like an old newspaper clip stating that Elza and her pro footballer ex husband were actually never separated confused me. I very much wished there was more of a linear storyline to follow because Elza is already so abstract and hard to grasp, but I will admit I am intrigued now and will more than likely go about researching her myself. In conclusion this film is a great introduction into the philosophical and mystical mind of the Goddess Elza Soares.

Festival Latindades Day 1 Recap

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Yesterday was the first day of “Festival Latinidades“. Celebrating it’s eighth year, the festival aims to

“give visibility to Afro-Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Day and to create a space for initiating discussions about state and civil society initiatives related to the promotion of racial equality and confronting racism and sexism.  What distinguishes this festival is its blending of cultural and didactic elements, in addition to the number of Brazilian states and foreign countries that participate.” (taken from the website)

This year’s theme is Cinema Negra and Sankofa, “going back to which you have forgotten” and many of the films featured focus on heritage and history. The headlining film of the night was “My Name is Now” an abstract documentary about the powerful Samba singer Elza Soares which was directed by Elizabete Martins Campos. Another film that screened tonight (which I saw the sumer before I came to Brazil at the BlackStar Film Festival) was “The Summer of Gods” directed by Eliciana Nascimento.

Panel talks touched on topics ranging from “What is Cinema Negra?” to discussions on how to combat racism and increase the value of black identity. Dr.Yaba Blay led a talk on the question of black beauty as it relates to black women, all of which were screened live here. The night continued with the official opening of the festival and concluded with a wonderful show by the star of the night herself, Elza Soares who rocked the crowd from a chair and greeted every last one of her fans.

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The 8th annual Festival Latinidades is off to a good start.