This is the third and final piece in a series of articles I have produced examining the dynamics of race, blackness, and media in Brazil. The first piece established the visual contours of race in Brazil and described the lack of Afro-Brazilians that appear in the media and the stereotypical roles through which they do become visible. The second piece examined the show Everybody Hates Chris as a television program that presents a foreign incursion into the public sphere. This final piece will draw attention to some Afro-Brazilian media production that disrupts notions of racial democracy or the hegemony of mixed race identities in Brazil.
Established in year 1996 Revista Raça or Race Magazine has provided a venue in which Afro-Brazilian and other media producers can produce images of blackness and create stories that speak to Afro-Brazilian issues. This nationally circulating, monthly magazine covers Afro-Brazilian celebrities, models, and community leaders who may otherwise go unacknowledged by the national press. The text includes the words negro and black to promote identification with the term and valorize them as identity categories. Kia Lilly Caldwell points out that, “In many ways, the visual representation in Raça have a greater impact on the tone and message of the magazine than do the articles and journalistic content.”To this end, the magazine includes images of celebrities and ordinary Afro-Brazilians from around the country. For example, the above image shows Taís Araújo, an Afro-Brazilian actress famous for starring in Brazil’s popular telenovelas or soap operas. The text reads, Taís is Black! Taís is beautiful! The text and pictures link her with black identity and black consciousness, which works to destigmatize this identity category and promote its use among the magazine’s readers.