Eliana Pittman, born Eliana Leite da Silva in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 1945, began her career under the influence of her stepfather, Mr. Booker Pittman. Enjoy the video! (Biography written by Alvaro Nader)

“Becoming the stepdaughter of the saxophonist Booker Pittman at 11, Eliana Pittman was profoundly influenced and encouraged by him to become an artist. He was her first music teacher, and some years later she debuted at the Little Club in Beco das Garrafas (Rio). In 1963, she went to Argentina, where she spent a season at the Philips Casino. Upon her return, Eliana recorded with Booker the LP New Sound Brazil Bossa Nova.


Invited by Jack Paar to perform on his TV show in New York, Eliana moved to the U.S together with Booker and her mother Ofélia. Hired by the Playboy Clubs, she toured 14 American states, returning to Brazil in 1965 for a national tour. Her first hit was "Tristeza" (Niltinho), recorded in 1966. After a period of depression caused by her stepfather's serious illness, she returned to music with the LP É Preciso Cantar (loosely "It's Necessary to Sing"), performing a show of the same title at the Teatro de Bolso (Rio).


The first time a samba-enredo was a commercial success was when Eliana recorded "O Mundo Encantado de Monteiro Lobato," originally performed by Mangueira in 1967. From 1968 to 1971, Pittman played throughout Argentina, Venezuela, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, and Spain. In Cannes, France, she was invited, together with Sasha Distel, to be the official hostess of the MIDEM. During that period, she worked as an actress in the film Capitães de Areia, a French production about the life of Jorge Amado. She had another hit in 1972 with "Esse Mar é Meu" (João Nogueira). Alternating periods of seclusion with eventual appearances, in 2001 she opened a new season in Rio.”

Jovelina Farias Belfort, most famously known as Jovelina Pérola Negra (Jovelina "Black Pearl") (Rio de Janeiro, July 21, 1944 - November 2, 1998) was an Afro-Brazilian singer.

She is considered to be one of the great ladies of samba and pagode with her strong voice, rich in tone and strength. Heir of Clementina de Jesus style, she worked as a maid before making success in the art world.

Born in Botafogo (south zone of Rio de Janeiro), Jovelina soon planted her foot in the Baixada Fluminense, in Belford Roxo. Jovelina was introduced to the general public upon her participation in the historical record "Raça Brasileira" in 1985. A member of Imperio Serrano Samba School, she helped establish what is today called "pagode." She collaborated with many artists in the recording of "Feirinha da Pavuna", "Bagaço da Laranja" (recorded with Zeca Pagodinho), "Luz do Repente", "No Mesmo Manto" e "Garota Zona Sul", among others.

She died of a heart attack at the age of 54 in the district of Bonanza, Jacarepaguá.A very personal style has won her many fans in the arts. Alcione honored the 'Black Pearl' in one of her best albums, "Profissão Cantora". Part of the so-called “partido alto,” Jovelina will always be remembered for her powerful voice and great style. 

Source: http://www.discogs.com/artist/917688-Jovelina-Pérola-Negra

The Black Experimental Theatre

In 1944, Abdias do Nascimento started a theatre group called Teatro Experimental do Negro (TEN), or The Black Experimental Theatre. TEN is an example of one of the ways Brazilians of African descent displayed pride in their African origins and used art to fight for the civil and human rights of Afro-Brazilians.

The first play produced by TEN, in 1945, was an American play by Eugene O'Neill called The Emperor Jones. Other plays produced by TEN focused on themes and topics related to Africa and African culture and history. TEN also organized a creative arts contest in 1954, and in 1968, it opened the Black Arts Museum.

Aguinaldo Camargo (in the background, as Brutus Jones) and Fernando Araújo, in the play The Emperor Jones (Municipal Theater, Rio de Janeiro, 1945).

© Abdias Nascimento
http://www.senado.gov.br/web/senador/abdias/abdias2.htm .
Aguinaldo Camargo (in the background, as Brutus Jones) and Fernando Araújo, in the play The Emperor Jones (Municipal Theater, Rio de Janeiro, 1945).

The members of TEN did not limit themselves to artistic projects. The organization was actively involved in politics. It published the newspaper Quilomobo and formed the Afro-Brazilian Democratic Committee. The Committee defended individuals who were believed to have been put in prison unjustly. TEN also created the first black woman's association in the country, The Brazilian Council of Black Women. TEN organized the first meeting of the National Convention of Blacks. At this convention, participants wrote a bill for a constitutional amendment that defined racial discrimination as a crime against humanity.

In 1997, Abdias Nascimento, the founder of TEN, became a Senator in Brazil. He was one of the founders of the new Democratic Labour Party (PDT).

Change has been coming slowly, and after a great deal of work, to Brazil. Organizations such as TEN and the Unified Black Movement have tried to end discrimination in the work place, media and school. These organizations have also called attention to the contributions that Afro-Brazilians have made to the culture and history of Brazil.

Source: http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/students/curriculum/m15/activity3.php

Tia Ciata (Hilaria Batista de Almeida, 1854-1924)

Biography by 

Tia Ciata was a woman from Bahia who had a fundamental role in the birth of Cariocan urban samba as a genre. An active practitioner of the culture of her homeland, she developed an informal cultural center at her home, where she would initiate the biggest composers and musicians of Rio de Janeiro of her time into the subtleties of samba from Bahia. As a result of this, in 1917, the first samba to be recorded, "Pelo Telefone," was a collective composition done in her house, in which she herself participated, along with other regulars João da Mata, Mestre Germano, Hilário Jovino Ferreira, Sinhô, and Donga. The lyrics were by Mauro de Almeida, the use of the folk song "Rolinha" in the first stanza by Didi da Gracinda. Tia Ciata, aka Tia Assiata, came to Rio, arriving from Bahia around 1875. 

She resided in two other places before settling, around 1899, in the historic house at 117 Visconde de Itaúna street, near Praça Onze. During the day she would sell tidbits downtown, and at night she would reign in her home as an organizer of meetings for black townspeople. In the folk-magic religion known as Candomblé, Tia Ciata was a kind of head, the babalaô-omin. In that capacity, she would hold worship rituals in her residence dedicated to the African orixás. It is important to note that, in that period, there were no public places for the poor or black inhabitants to socialize. So the meeting places of these segments of society were essentially family homes. Tia Ciata's house became legendary because not only she would hold regular Candomblé sessions, but also because these sessions were followed by a samba, a kind of party where people could drink, eat, play, dance to music, meet each other, and form romantic couples. In fact, as the sambas were persecuted by police, they were frequently disguised as religious activities. So, in these festive reunions, Tia Ciata's house became widely known in Rio. Not only the black people, but also politicians, Bohemians, musicians, and batuqueiros (percussionists) would gather there, attracted by her excellent culinary skills and the music. The parties could last for several days in a row, and people would spend the entire time there without returning to their homes until the feast was over. 

The cultural exchange was the central focus in Tia Ciata's house. Being a precursor of the migratory movements of blacks arriving from Bahia to Rio with the end of slavery (1888, five years after her arrival) and the massive demobilization, in 1897, of the troops of Baianos engaged in the fight against the fanatic religious leader Antônio Conselheiro, Tia Ciata was on the verge of a movement which would deeply influence the national culture via its ascendacy over the important capital, Rio de Janeiro. She herself was a tap-dancer in the best tradition of folk samba from Bahia, and she would make a point to initiate the Cariocas in those mysteries. And in fact she succeeded in that, as the most important composers and musicians of the time, like Caninha, Joao da Baiana, Donga, Pixinguinha, Sinhô, and Heitor dos Prazeres, along with less representative names like João da Mata, Mestre Germano, Minan, Didi da Gracinda, and João Câncio were regulars at her house. Disciples that continued her work were her son Eduardo da Tia Ciata, her granddaughters Lili da Tia Ciata (who became the porta-estandarte of the rancho Macaco é Outro) and Tia Cincinha, her grandson Buci Moreira, Ministrinho da Cuíca, Dino, and Santa, among others. Tia Ciata also directed the rancho Rosa Branca, which played during Carnival with its Pastoras. In that close net interlacing Baianos and Cariocas, Tia Ciata was the most important Tia (auntie) from Bahia, sharing with her townswomen Tia Dadá (dweller of Rio's borough Saúde) and Tia Bebiana (who lived in the Largo de São Domingos) the honors of keeping true cultural centers that introduced the Cariocas to the culture from Bahia.

Source: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/tia-ciata-mn0001843571

Professor Milton Santos (1926-2001) - One of the greatest Brazilian Geographers

Professor Milton Santos was certainly one of the greatest Brazilian geographers. He was born in Brotas de Macaúbas, Bahia, Brazil on May 3, 1926. Santos' parents were elementary school teachers and taught him at home how to read and write. By the time he was eight, he had already completed the equivalent of an elementary school education. Milton's father was a descendant from slaves, which gave Santos motivation to study. From 1934 to 1936, he lived in Alcobaça, learning French and good manners.

Santos taught geography to high school students to finance university classes in Salvador, Bahia where he graduated with a law degree. Because of his passion for geography, Professor Santos did not pursue a career in law. He went on to study and teach in Europe, the United States and Africa. He turned the painful exile that the military dictatorship had imposed on him for thirteen years into benefits. Milton Santos wrote more than forty books in several languages. These works became a reference for all those who intended to understand the world in a critical way.

Some of his works include "Por Uma Geografia Nova" (1978) and "A Natureza do Espaço" (1996). His work "O Espaço Dividido", in which Santos develops a theory on urban development in underdeveloped countries, is considered a geography classic.

Milton Santos went on to win the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize-- the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. The award is modeled after the Nobel Prize and is considered and colloquially called the Nobel Prize for geography.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Santos

Brazil in Black and White
Directed by Adam Stepan (Documentary/Filmmaker)

About the Issue

As one of the most racially diverse nations in the world, Brazil has long considered itself a colorblind “racial democracy.” But deep disparities in income, education and employment between lighter and darker-skinned Brazilians have prompted a civil rights movement advocating equal treatment of Afro-Brazilians. In Brazil, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery, blacks today make up almost half of the total population — but nearly two-thirds of the nation’s poor. Institutions of higher education have typically been monopolized by Brazil’s wealthy and light-skinned elite, and illiteracy among black Brazilians is twice as high as among whites. Now, affirmative action programs are changing the rules of the game, with many colleges and universities reserving 20% of spots for Afro-Brazilians. But with national surveys identifying over 130 different categories of skin color, including “cinnamon,” “coffee with milk,” and “toasted,” who will be considered “black enough” to qualify for the new racial quotas?

About The Film

“Am I black or am I white?” Even before they ever set foot in a college classroom, many Brazilian university applicants must now confront a question with no easy answer. BRAZIL IN BLACK AND WHITE follows the lives of five young college hopefuls from diverse backgrounds as they compete to win a coveted spot at the elite University of Brasilia, where 20 percent of the incoming freshmen must qualify as Afro-Brazilian. Outside the university, WIDE ANGLE reports on the controversial racial debate roiling Brazil through profiles of civil right activists, opponents of affirmative action, and one of the country’s few black senators.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

IPEAFRO (Afro-Brazilian Research Institute) pays homage to Brazilian intelectual and activist Abdias Nascimento. The following YouTube video introduces the work done by Nascimento in creating a research and archival space where Afro-Brazilian history could be stored and studied. Video highlights Mr. Nascimento's engagement with Brazilian culture, politics, and art. 

Video accessible at http://youtube/Gh7c46U5hhY
“Black And Latino”


People of Hispanic background are the largest group of ethnic minorities in the United States. But what does it mean to be both black and Latino in a browning America?


That’s the question asked in “Black and Latino,” a new original web documentary by mun2.tv, which explores issues of “race” and ethnic identities (their fluidity and controversies) as lived by some of America’s most prominent Afro-Latino celebrities; issues related to identity, especially framed around Blacks of Latino descent living in the United States; and the Afro-Brazilian community, who is also part of Latin America, but do not fit in the category of Hispanics. Being Black, Latino, and Brazilian (speaking Portuguese) add to the forum of discussions of what it means to be a person of color in the United States, and what are the strategies one may use in order to “fit in” within both the African-American and the Latino/Hispanic communities.


“When I became an actress, I quickly realized that the world liked their Latinas to look Italian, not like me,” said Gina Torres, who is best known for her role on Fox’s sci-fi cult favorite, “Firefly.” “And so I wasn’t going up for Latina parts, I was going up for African-American parts.”


The actor Laz Alonso (Avatar) echoed those thought. “It was kind of like a dual existence because outside of my house I would be just an African-American guy,” he said. “But once I got home, I was Cuban again.”


The documentary also features conversations with younger Latinos. It’s the latest original program from mun2.tv, featuring interviews with actors Laz Alonso (Avatar, Jumping the Broom), Tatyana Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Gina Torres (Suits, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) and Judy Reyes (Scrubs), musicians Christina Milian (“Dip It Low”) and Kat DeLuna (“Whine Up”), and journalist Soledad O’Brien (CNN), among many others. Mun2.tv won an Imagen award in 2011 in the Best Web Series category for it online program about Mexican American culture titled “Chismex”


You can also enjoy the movie by visiting mun2.tv website: