|Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2016-02-13 03:34Z by Steven|
Stephanie Ribeiro and Djamila Ribeiro
The Globeleza Mulata is not a natural cultural event, but a performance that invades the imaginary and the Brazilian televisions during Carnival. A spectacular created by art director Hans Donner to be the symbol of the popular party, which exhibited for 13 years his companion Valéria Valenssa in the super-expositional function of “mulata”. We’re talking about a character that appeared in the nineties and still strictly follows the same script: it is always a black woman that dances the samba as a passista (Carnaval dancer), naked with her body painted with glitter, to the sound of the vignette displayed throughout the daily programming of Rede Globo (TV).
To start the debate on this character, we need to identify the problem contained in the term “mulata”. Besides being a word naturalized by Brazilian society, it is a captive presence in the vocabulary of the hosts, journalists and reporters from the Globo broadcasting. The word of is of Spanish origin comes from “mula” or “mulo” (the masculine and feminine of ‘mule’): that that is a hybrid originating from a cross between species. Mules are animals born crossing donkeys with mares or horses with donkeys. In another sense, they are the result of the mating of the animal considered noble (equus caballus) with the animal deemed second class (donkey). Therefore, it is a derogatory word indicating mestiçagem (racial mixture or crossbreeding), impurity; an improper mixing that should not exist.
Employed since the colonial period, the term was used to designate lighter skinned blacks, fruits of the rape of slaves by masters. Such a nomenclature has sexist and racist nature and was transferred to the Globeleza character, naturalized. The adjective “mulata” is a sad memory of the 354 years (1534-1888) of escravidão negra (black slavery) in Brazil…
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