Vidas Negras (Black Lives) matter. And here they are celebrated.
On Vidas Negras, new Spotify original podcast (in Portuguese), journalist Tiago Rogero analyzes and interweaves the trajectories and lives of Brazilian personalities from Past and Present. Every Wednesday, for free.
Listen to the 1st season (15 episodes) on Spotify.
The series is produced by Rádio Novelo.
Produced and researched by Angélica Paulo
Edited by Juliana Santana, Mari Romano, Renan Sukevicius, Clara Rellstab and Débora Gonçalves
Mixed by Henrique Chiurciu
Fact-checked by Saulo Pereira Guimarães and Amanda Pinheiro
Digital editing by Bia Ribeiro
Original soundtrack by Victor Rodrigues Dias
Visual identity by Linoca Souza
Narration directed by Flora Thomson-DeVaux and Renan Sukevicius
Script consulting by Paula Scarpin and Flora Thomson-DeVaux
Reported, scripted and hosted by Tiago Rogero
Episode 01: De onde a sua família veio? (Where’s your family from?)
Name, language, and faith. All of that was taken from Africans who were forcibly brought to Brazil. The Slavery papers were all burned. How, then, to track this History? The answer could be inside our homes. On Vidas Negras’s first episode, two writers who tell their own story: Carolina Maria de Jesus and Eliana Alves Cruz.
Episode 02: Quem tem medo do feminismo negro? (Who’s afraid of Black feminism?)
Sueli Carneiro, the activist who turned Brazilian feminism Black, was also determinant for the life work of one of Brazil’s bestselling authors: Djamila Ribeiro. In this episode, both of them show why, when the Black woman moves, the whole structure of society moves with her.
Episode 03: Pelo direito de ser xereta (For the right to be nosy)
Everyone is born nosy. And, if curiosity is the basis of Science, then everyone is born a little scientist. But, for some of us, staying a scientist has never been an option. The third episode of Vidas Negras delves into the story of Enedina Alves Marques and Sonia Guimarães, two pioneering scientists who were able to give wings to their geniuses.
Episode 04: Mais fácil chorar do que fazer rir (Easier to cry than to make someone laugh)
Talent is important, but for Black actresses and actors it was never enough. Grande Otelo and Chica Xavier, two references of Brazilian dramaturgy, were almost never protagonists. But even in subordinate roles, they got the spotlight. In the fourth episode of Vidas Negras, we tell how they turned this game around.
Episode 05: O país que não se aceita negro (The country that doesn’t accept itself Black)
Brazil is a country in denial. It’s Black, but denies being black. In the fifth episode, the story of the anthropologist behind the concept: Lélia Gonzalez. An intellectual who traveled the world, but did not forget the favelas. Like Anielle Franco, the sister of Marielle Franco, who keeps alive the legacy of the Rio de Janeiro councilwoman murdered in 2018.
Episode 06: A verdade vos fará livre (The truth will set you free)
From the arrival of the first Africans to today, Black people have never been able to profess their faith in Brazil. The legal ban has dropped, but attacks on African-based religions are only growing. “To attack a terreiro (sacred house) in the name of Jesus is to attack Jesus in the name of Jesus.” In the sixth episode, the stories of the iyalorixá Mãe Beata de Yemonjá and the Baptist pastor Henrique Vieira.
Episode 07: Uma estética negra (A black aesthetic)
There are more and more stylists and Afro-entrepreneurs creating Afro-Brazilian fashion. But it wasn’t always like that. There was a time when Black culture was considered a “primitive” form of Art. In the seventh episode of Vidas Negras, two artists who made the appreciation of Black aesthetics a life project: Abdias Nascimento and Goya Lopes.
Episode 08: Não tem problemis (ou tem?) (No problem — or is there?)
This episode is about Mussum. Or rather: it’s about Antônio Carlos, Carlinhos do Reco-Reco and Mangueira, a sambista and one of the founders of the group Os Originais do Samba, a success in the 1960s and 70s. And it’s about Teresa, too. The sambista Teresa Cristina, the Queen of Lives on Instagram, the girl who started singing before even started speaking.
Episode 09: Não querem te ver livre (They don’t wanna see you free)
For what – and to whom – does Law serve? To liberate or oppress? In the ninth episode of Vidas Negras, the story of the woman who, in 1770, in the interior of Piauí, had the courage not to remain silent: Esperança Garcia. A struggle that has crossed the centuries and today finds an echo in the voice and texts of lawyer and professor Thiago Amparo.
Episode 10: O filho que deu à luz a mãe (The son who gave birth to his mother)
Forget everything you know about Luiza Mahin. Or rather: leave it suspended. It was in a letter from her son, Luiz Gama, that she “was born” to History. She became a symbol for Black movements and synonymous with Afro-entrepreneurship, the path taken today by women like the executive Luana Génot.
Episode 11: Imagens históricas da mulher negra (Historical images of the Black women)
Did you know that, in the 18th century, a woman was proclaimed queen of a quilombo that resisted colonial attacks in Mato Grosso? In the eleventh episode, the story of Tereza de Benguela, the Queen Tereza. And also a look at the reproduction of images of historical women, and of an artist who resignifies them: Tay Cabral.
Episode 12: Cabeça feita
The intellectual, Milton Santos once said, exists to create discomfort. The new episode of Vidas Negras brings the trajectory of the professor and geographer from Bahia, the only Brazilian to win the “Nobel” of Geography. And a trip to the world of Nei Lopes, the intellectual who creates sambas, tales, dictionaries and encyclopedias from our culture.
Episode 13: A rua tem alma (The streets have a soul)
At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, João do Rio revolutionized Brazilian journalism by perceiving the charming soul of the streets and hearing the voice of those who had been ignored until then. At the turn of the 20th century to the 21st, Rene Silva is a voice that does not wait or ask for permission to be heard.
Episode 14: A mulher negra na política (Black women in politics)
From a poor family, she was a domestic worker, studied hard, graduated from college and, overcoming all the impositions of a racist and sexist society, entered politics. She was elected municipal councilor, deputy and senator. This story could be of one, but it is of the two characters of this episode: Benedita da Silva and Marina Silva.
Episode 15: Movimento Bicha Preta (Black Queer Movement)
Vidas Negras’s season finale rescues the story of Jorge Laffond, dancer and actor who, giving life to characters like Vera Verão, paraded his disobedient body on open TV. A reference for the multi-artist Lina Pereira, the Linn da Quebrada.