Afro-Brazilian Feminism Wins Out at Rio Carnival

One of the Unidos da Viradouro floats

HAVANA TIMES – A performance honouring an Afro-Brazilian feminist music collective has won the samba school “Unidos do Viradouro” the championship title in Rio de Janeiro’s iconic street carnival, reported dpa news.

The samba school from the city of Niteroi was one of more than a dozen groups taking part in the competition, which saw hundreds of colorfully and scantily clad dancers and musicians parading behind huge, elaborate floats in Rio’s sambodrome.

The nine-member jury announced that Unidos do Viradouro had won the competition and was one of six participants that would take part in another parade in the sambadrome on Saturday.

Its performance honored Ganhadeiras de Itaupa, a feminist music collective from the coastal city of Salvador which “has always displayed the strength of black women in Brazilian society and music,” news outlet G1 reported.

Carnival performances have become increasingly political in recent years, with participants paying homage to the country’s black, indigenous, and working-class communities.

A performance by the samba school “Mangueira” earlier this week showed Jesus returning to Earth in one of the city’s favela neighborhoods with “a black face, indigenous blood and a woman’s body,” drawing the ire of President Jair Bolsonaro and the country’s evangelical Christians.

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