If you watch Brazilian novelas (I sometimes do, you know that usually there is one Afro-Brazilian. Just one. If that character is a woman, she usually is the housekeeper. She usually is hot and earns the attention of a hot light skinned patron. If that character is a man, he is also usually a domestic worker and is also hot. He usually gains the attention of an older white patrona. If said dark skinned character doesn’t live in the big house then they live in the slums. So when TV da Gente, Brazil’s first black owned television station with programming directed at Brazil’s black population, made its debut last November why did people cry “racism”?
While most Latin American countries don’t like to talk about race, cases like this point to the huge issue skin color continues to be. Brazil has the largest black population outside of Africa, with nearly half of its 180 million people claiming African roots. The problem is not with television stations like TV da Gente but rather with mainstream media and those that consume it without questioning the racial politics of what is being transmitted. Why is it not racist that it took NBC how many freaking seasons to get a person of color on Friends? Why is it not called out that the majority of news anchors on Spanish language television are light skinned and light eyed?
Jose de Paula Neto, the founder and principle owner of TV da Gente admits that the creation of the station was an activist move. He fronted most of the $5.2 million needed to keep the station afloat. Investors from Angola, another former Portuguese colony, fronted the rest.
Currently TV da Gente is only available in Sao Paulo and the northeastern city of Fortaleza, but it is looking to expand.
Via / LA Times