BLACK VOICES

National Day Of Black Consciousness Celebrates The Beauty Of Afro-Brazilians

With 50 percent of its population black, Brazil is finally coming to terms with race.

Today is the National Day of Black Consciousness in Brazil, an important holiday in a country notorious for its problems with race. 

Brazil is South America’s largest country, and has the largest black population outside of Africa.  And yet, black people in Brazil experience numerous harsh realities that their white counterparts don't, with darker-skinned Brazilians routinely experiencing poverty and discrimination on a much larger scale.

Brazil has had a history of avoiding important conversations about race in spite of its diversity, but on the National Day of Zumbi and Black Consciousness, black Brazilians have the opportunity to celebrate their black identities and the late Zumbi dos Palmares, one of the country's most famous black military leaders, who fought against European settlers in the independent settlement of Quilombo.

Thus, November 20 is a day of remembrance and celebration, and different regions observe the holiday with marches, parades, and demonstrations. And it seems that the holiday is vital now more than ever.  

On November 7, Brazil held its first ever Natural Hair Empowerment March, where thousands of black Brazilian women in the city of Salvador proudly wore their natural hair to celebrate their black identity. 

A photo posted by Gigi (@melanin_monroe_gigi_) on

The march came in the wake of Afro-Brazilian actress Taís Araújo receiving racist comments on her Facebook after posting a photo of herself wearing her hair in its curly, natural state.

É muito chato, em 2015, ainda ter que falar sobre isso, mas não podemos nos calar: na última noite, recebi uma série de...

Posted by Taís Araújo on Sunday, November 1, 2015

In terms of the treatment of black people in Brazil, the country has a long way to go. But events like National Day Of Black Consciousness and the Natural Hair Empowerment March are, at the very least, giving hope to Afro-Brazilians. 

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