Carnival Recap Part 1.

*the days aren’t actually in order, carnival lasts an entire week. I tried to go everyday and take pics, but living directly on a parade route and crashing at a friends place who lives directly on a crazier parade route made it hard. SO, I’m blogging about Carnival in three different installments because honestly, that’s all I remember.*


3Carnival is the largest party in Brazil. Wikipedia says the largest celebration is in Rio, but actually it’s in Salvador. For the entire month of February, Salvador experiences a huge influx of tourists. They fill the stairs of Geronimo on Tuesdays, they take all the seats at Jazz no Mam on Saturday nights, they have all come to see the livest party on Earth, Carnival in Salvador, Bahia. As a tourist turned person who just won’t leave, I can’t lie-the excitement got me caught up as well. After snagging a press pass I hit the streets with my camera. Here are the better shots of the first day.


Carnival, which is celebrated in many countries all over the world is a direct result of imperialism. Traditionally, Christians and Catholics feasted and partied hard before Lent started on Ash Wednesday. During Lent people abstain from fun and awesome things like meat, wine, chocolate or sex to pay reverence to Christ. However, with the rise in globalization and the boon in the tourism industry, specially of the sex variety, your typically Carnival or Mardi Gras has little to do with the original religious origin. (I’m looking at you Trinidad and Tobago and NOLA)

The coolest part about Salvador’s carnival is how the afro blocos (bands) chose a figure or country to pay homage to. Olodum, one of the largest afro reggae bands in Brasil chose Ethiopia after members of the organization took a trip to the country this past year.  Brazil now has a direct flight route to Ethiopia as well.

1011The music and costumes of Olodum were all inspired by Ethiopia. If you look closely you can see coptic crosses. Ethiopia,  (low key the cradle of human life), is home to the bones of the world’s first human ancestor as well as pieces of the actual cross Christ was hung on.


Olodum’s’ opening reception premiered the music they would go on to play throughout Carnival as well as  Ethiopian food and drink and an apperance from the Ethiopian ambassador.


If Brazil is the picture of a racial paradise then the photographer must be Dali.

Salvador Bahia, Brazil, lauded as a small piece of Africa in the Americas is playfully called “AfroDisney”. It has the largest concentration of African descended people in the Western Hemisphere. Yoruba culture is prevalent but distorted. The Yoruba Orisha Yemanja has an entire festival in her honor yet she is presented with an  african body covered in the skin and hair of a white woman. For an afro centered person like myself, Brasil looked like a place to explore what it means to be black in the America’s through a new perhaps more “authentic” filter. I’m starting to believe that was a very naive thought.

I came because-well maybe that’s the first problem.

I, like many other DVD owners and former film majors, would call “City of God” my favorite movie. I’m now realizing I’m no better than the jerks who move to Baltimore after watching a season of the Wire. I was drawn to the violence. I wanted to study the people. I wanted to compare and contrast struggle.

People from Baltimore, or DetroitNewOrleansComptonTheBronx know the reaction you get when you tell people you’re from Baltimore or DetroitNewOrleansComptonTheBronx. Eyes widen and maybe some are surprised because you aren’t featured in a World Star Hip Hop video or robbing them (at the moment). “The Wire” and “City of God” are great but they still hold a white gaze. Still directed, produced and made by white people for other white people. In other words, their story is just a piece of the pie. I came down here cause I wanted to study a countries recipe. I thought I would be satisfied with just a 3 month visit. It felt like dipping my toe into the cool pool at the 4th of July cookout (the one where people are actually swimming). 3 months wasn’t enough.  I missed my return flight. Too much had happened but also not enough.

Anyway, I came to Brazil cause I was obsessed with something I became familiar with through the media. I stayed cause I thought I fell in love. I’m not leaving just yet, cause I want to figure out why the hell I’m still here.

Glowing Pain

This will be my travel blog, complete with ads, tips, music, mixes, film reviews, pictures, and most of all stories. For all my homies locked down in the 9-5 corporate life, all my soldiers in the struggle with babies hanging from their necks and all my hustlers tryna pay Sallie Mae and hit brunch every weekend. Live through me like I live through yall.