Residents of favelas around the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro celebrated Black Awareness on Saturday with music and dancing, paying homage to the heritage of many who live in these communities.
In the Santa Marta Favela, where Michael Jackson recorded the song “They don’t care about us”, locals wore colorful costumes and danced in the streets to drums and tambourines.
“As we leave the pandemic, we decided together with City Hall to create a project to encourage popular culture, thought and activism around Black culture, one of the biggest identities of “carioca” (people from Rio) culture.”Marcos Faustini, Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary of Culture said.
Rio’s City Hall sponsored the “Folia de Reis” events to highlight Black Awareness in favelas, giving locals a sense of pride and appreciation in their communities which are divided with gang violence and economic uncertainty.
A master clown Ronaldo Junior gave an explanation to the culture. “Folia de Reis already means partying, meeting up. In Santa Marta, when you hear the drums of the parade, it’s happiness, it’s partying, children running, cymbals, drums, tambourines. Folia de Reis is nothing more than happiness, love and devotion.”
Brazil kicked off Black Consciousness Month with a promise of educating the community about the trials, tribulations, and accomplishments of Black people throughout South and Latin America.
During November, many have vowed to recognize Black history and cultural awareness ahead of the nationwide observance of Black Consciousness Day on Nov. 20.
Brazil’s Black community’s progress includes a nearly two-decade-old law that requires the teaching of Afro-Brazilian history and culture in schools.
The text of the law states that every school in the nation should teach “the History of Africa and Africans, the struggle of Black people in Brazil, Afro-Brazilian culture, and the contributions of black people in forming national society, including social, economic, and political areas relevant to the History of Brazil.”