A Brazilian TV morning show is facing widespread accusations of racism — and a Twitter firestorm — surrounding a game segment that featured a contestant wearing blackface in a demeaning depiction of a Black woman.
The segment, “Jogo de Panelas,” (“Cookware Game”), aired Dec. 12 on Globo TV’s “Mais Você” and featured a man named Willian as the first contestant. He chose “opposite sex” as his theme and, as such, his team featured several men in women’s clothing and women in men’s clothing.
And that’s where things went off the rails. Willian chose to dress as a “nega maluca” or “crazy Black woman,” a figure used in carnivals nationwide to normalize the stereotypical depiction of Black women, according to Black Women of Brazil. “Nega maluca” combines the overtly sexual Jezebel caricature with other stereotypes like big red lips and afro hair.
On Twitter, users lashed out at the on-air depiction. “Nega maluca? Blackface early in the morning, Ana Maria?” Barker asked of the morning show’s host, Ana Maria Braga. “Shame on you …”
— Barker ⚓️ (@MacBarker) December 12, 2016
“Blackface is racist and that’s it,” wrote @ProfJanainaMont. “And if the world is annoyed because we complain, ask to leave!”
“Seeing #MaisVocê today on VIVA,” Karoline Vital wrote. Blackface on #JogoDePanelas! Absurd to allow something so ballsy! Most embarrassing for the Globe [network].”
— Karoline Vital (@karolinevital) December 12, 2016
“I don’t know what’s worse,” @juneves wrote. “Blackface in 2016 almost 2017 or people who do not understand why blackface is wrong.”
EU NÃO SEI O QUE É PIOR: blackface em pleno 2016 quase 2017 ou gente que não entende pq blackface é errado
— samba, Juliana (@juneves) December 12, 2016
This is not the first racist depiction of a Black woman on Brazilian television. Atlanta Black Star reported actor Rodrigo Sant’Anna developed the character “Adelaide” in his theater show before taking her to the small screen. Adelaide is a Black woman characterized by a large nose, bushy eyebrows and toothlessness. She appeared as a panhandler on the series, “Zorra Total.”