dance black rio de janeiro
At the height of the Black Rio Movement, dances in Rio's suburbs attracted between 15 and 20 people. Photo: Reproduction "Jornal do Brasil" / Publisher José Oympio

In these obtuse times, in which the rise of conservatism in the country gives rise to bizarre characters such as Fernando Holiday – a young black man, a member of the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), who was elected councilor for São Paulo with a speech to combat the “victimism” of black people. , the end of racial quotas and the revocation of the Day of Black Consciousness, celebrated on November 20 –, it is more than welcome the arrival at bookstores of a work such as 1976 Black Rio Movement, book-report by journalists Zé Octávio Sebadelhe and Luiz Felipe de Lima Peixoto.

Published by José Olympio, with support from the Natura Musical project, the breath-taking work was also part of a series of actions by the Municipal Secretary of Culture of Rio de Janeiro in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Black Rio Movement.

Over 252 pages, the duo of journalists reconstructs, with the help of many characters who lived through the period, the history of this young phenomenon consolidated with the profusion of dances mostly attended by Carioca black people.

The effervescence around parties that gathered up to 15, 20 thousand people was so inspiring that it gave rise to a local scene of bands and composers that amalgamated the teachings of funk and North American soul music with genres of Brazilian popular music, such as samba. and the bay.

The greatest exponent of this mixture, Banda Black Rio released its first LP in 1977, maria smoke (listen up), a classic of the fusions fed back by this pulsating culture arising from the Carioca dances, the main foundation of the movement that gave young black people in Rio de Janeiro an unprecedented feeling of pride.

In this context, in addition to Banda Black Rio, artists emerged with the same impetus to amplify Brazilian soul music created by predecessors such as Tim MayaToni TornadohyldonCassiano and the group Dom Salvador & Abolition.

In the new crop, highlight for black unionCarlos DafeGerson King ComboDon BetoBeto Scalalady zuMarcia Mariabizarre tonySerginho MeritiCopa 7Junior MendesAlmir RicardiSandra de Sa and the duo Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti. With an explosive rhythm, they made the soundtrack for the blacks, as the movement's sympathizers called themselves.

Poorly documented, the subject of many prejudiced reports made at the time, the trajectory of these characters is properly told in the book.

In the presentation text of the work, Peixoto points out recurring arguments to delegitimize the importance of the movement, such as the foreign influence and the apparent frivolity of an articulation driven by revelry.

“The history of Black Rio fits, in a way, into a situation similar to the scarce historical records of national black culture, obliterated by the reigning amnesia of immaterial memory, a common characteristic of this country. Little is known about the influence of American soul in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro in the early 1970s. Some claim it was not an authentic, organized movement. Others claim that it was just a moment when black youth decided to dance to a different song,” says Peixoto.

Due to the troubled historical context in which it emerged, the journalist reiterates the importance of Black Rio's articulation. “In a dictatorial period, the representation of this movement had no parameters. The blacks here showed themselves to be contextualized in an international scope, they were in tune with what was happening around the world. And, through this racial identity, the Black Rio Movement became an incomparable sociological and political phenomenon. A watershed.”

The superficial criticism of the proliferation of dances in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro led to a protest by the sambista Candeia, manifested in the song I'm More Samba (watch video), launched in 1977.

Provocative, in the lyrics, the partideiro ironizes: “This sound that comes from outside doesn't frighten me / Neither rock nor rumba / To end that soul / Just a little macumba”.

black rio 2 dance
Photo originally published in a report by “Jornal do Brasil” and reproduced in the book “1976 – Movimento Black Rio”. Photo: Publicity / Publisher José Olympio

In the last stanza, after stating that “those who are good at the samba circle do not imitate foreigners”, Candeia ponders: “Calm down, calm down, my people / Why so much bambambã / Because the blacks of today are the sambistas of tomorrow”.

The anti-Black Rio de Candeia manifesto, which had the collaboration of Clementina de Jesus and Dona Ivone Lara, is documented in the 15th of the 28 chapters of the book.

The clash “samba versus soul” even had the unusual opinion of the sociologist Gilberto Freyre, who, in an article published in Newspapers in Brazil, warned “the nation to the danger of mixing black Americans with black Brazilians who have a movement called Black Rio, with the purpose of transforming black music – samba, mainly – into protest music”.

in the introduction of 1976 Black Rio Movement, Sebadelhe reaffirms the mistake of belittling the intentions of young black people who, contrary to what those who shared the opinion of the old-school samba and the author of Casa Grande & Senzala, did not have as their sole motto the alienating hedonism of dance.

“The Black Rio Movement had such peculiar characteristics that it would not only change the forms of cultural production in the city, but also the habits of coexistence and the relationships of the place. This particularity united young blacks from other states with the same purpose: the right to express themselves freely, absorb, produce culture and have fun. Then, a youth emerged that would vehemently question the statutes and archaic models of Brazilian civilization, traces of a society forged in severe concepts of the era of slavery.”

In addition to the textual importance, the book also presents the reader with a rich iconographic research, with flyers, posters and photographs in black and white that show the feeling of happy brotherhood that there was among the fans of the scene spread in parties promoted by teams such as Baile da Pesada. , Soul Grand Prix, Dynamic Soul, Soul Maior, Cash Box, Black Power and Hurricane 2000.

In this month of celebration of the fierce spirit of Zumbi dos Palmares, we have here an essential book both for the uninformed, such as councilor Fernando Holiday, and for the black people who have always defended the right to bring their own history to light and thus preserve it. .

black rio 3 dance
Ball of the Black Power team, in a photo originally published in the “Jornal do Brasil” and reproduced in the book “1976 – Movimento Black Rio”. Photo: Publicity / Publisher José Olympio

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