At first glance there’s no feminist element to Carioca funk. Which is the electronic funk dance music that is a product Rio de Janeiro’s petty favelas. Most of the songs performed by women are sexually explicit, and sometimes violent funk type and are not empowering.
That’s what I was thinking when I began my postdoctoral study into the genre in the year 2008. From a white middle-class viewpoint, the savage lyrics were a symbol of machismo. That was a result by Brazil’s patriarchal culture. I saw this kind of music, as well as the performers provocative fashions and costumes as a form. Of sexism against women who were further subjugate to the male machismo.
I could not be more wrong. Since they sing openly about sex and life out in public Rio’s female funk performers bring the harsh. Reality of Rio’s most difficult neighborhoods to the mainstream and inspiring an upcoming generation of female performers.
I was at my first participant-observation session, attending a favela dance party. When I spotted the samba school rehearsal yard full of sound equipment. A woman’s voice was booming through my ears.
This was the band Gaiola das Popozudas, and the singer who was leading the group. Valesca, was wailing to the rhythm of an electronic drum Come on love. Beat my case and put your dick on my face.
I thought: it’s probably not an accident it’s the very first thing I’ve heard in my the first field day. I’ve got something learned from the women. There are certain personal beliefs I have to dissect.
A result from Brazil’s African diaspora, the funk genre (which has little in common with the more well-known George Clinton variety) began to pop up within Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the 1990s, and with original lyrics composed in Portuguese. In the last 10 years musicians have been remixing songs from abroad with new lyrics rather than translating original songs.
In the wake of contests to write songs at funk events youngsters became MCs, writing songs that referred to the slums they’d grew up and expressed their enthusiasm of partying as well as other leisure activities that were available to black youths living in Rio de Janeiro.
At the time there were hardly any women performing on stage. If they did perform, female performers, like the MC Cacau of the 1990s, who was a popular idol frequently performed songs about love.
Alternative One Notable Exception Funk
A notable alternative one notable exception was MC Dandara, a black street woman who had a breakthrough success with her highly politicised Rap de Benedita. The rap was based around Benedita da Silva an African-American favela dweller and elected Congress as an official of the Workers’ Party and was then discriminated against by the mainstream media.
Even her stage name was deeply political. Dandara was a warrior-woman who was among Brazil’s leaders. Quilombo dos Palmares runaway slave settlement, which during the 18th century developed into an abolitionist organization.
In the early 21st century the dominance of males of funk was threatened as more female MCs entered the scene. The pioneering rapper Deize Tigrona, who hailed from Rio’s most well-known as well as most unsafe favelas City of God, was an employee in a household when she began her career by singing funk.
Her songs are sexually edgy but fun. One of Deize’s early songs was Injecao where the shot she receives at the doctor’s office is an absurd reference to the concept of sexual intimacy (the line: It hurts but I’m able to take it).
In the beginning of 2000 Another City of God resident found fame singing about pleasure and sex from the perspective of a woman. Tati Quebra Barraco, whose skin color was black, just like Deize and she was a skeptic of the current Brazilian beauty standards with her song”I’m ugly, but I’m stylish/I could afford a hotel room for an attractive man.
Funk Goes Feminist
In a bid to prove fame, money in addition to power Tati was one of the top females in the funk. Together Tati and Deize create what was later refer to as feminist funk. It influenced an entire generation of female musicians in the favelas.
The artist Valesca Popozuda was the first artist from the funk scene to declare herself as a feminist. Valesca who is white, has chosen to go by the name of Popozuda which means women with a large behind (a physical attribute that is admire by Brazilians). Brazil).
After quitting her group, Gaiola das Popozudas, to pursue her own solo professional career Valesca is now known as a singer-songwriter with her explicit lyrics that describe her prefer activities in bed, and not just with guys as well.
With her songs, which show love for LGBTQ people, in addition to other communities that are marginalis and her stance on female freedom is evidently political. In Sou Gay (I’m Gay), Valesca sings, I sweated, I kissed, I enjoyed, I came/I’m bi, I’m free, I’m tri, I’m gay.
Symbol Of Feminism
Valesca has become a symbol of feminism on the grassroots for being vocal about prejudices of all sorts. In other songs, Valesca has highlighted matters that matter to working-class and women of low income from Rio de Janeiro.
Larguei Meu Marido, for instance, tells the story of an actress who has left her abusive husband only to discover. That he’s now begging to get her back, now that she’s infidelity with him (as she did to her in the past). On stage, as Valesca declares herself an slut, women in the audience go crazy.
Following the example the pioneering musicians nowadays, female funk artists are singing about an ever-growing array of subjects. There are still gender discrimination, even though. Women have made it in the stage however, they’re rare as funk DJs producers, and entrepreneurs. Men manage the in the background.
This will change also. It’s not impossible for those Brazilian females who after being suck up in a patriarchal and sexy society. With traditional Christian values discovered the power to shout out at the universe. My body is mine and translate in the language of Funk, the fundamental feminist slogan: My body is my own.