On first look it’s apparent that there’s no feminist funk element to Carioca Funk. The electronic dance music emanating out Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas. Most of the songs sung by women are sexually explicit, often violent funk type which is not exactly empowering.
I think so. I believed when I started my postdoctoral study into the genre in the year 2008. From a white, middle-class perspective, the vulgar lyrics were a manifestation of masculinity. Which was the result from Brazil’s patriarchal system. I interpreted this type of music, as well as the performers’ provocative. Fashions and costumes as an attempt to devalue women who were further subjugated to the male machismo.
I could not be more wrong. Since they sing openly about sex and life in the streets. With the person in front of you Rio’s female funk performers are bringing the savage reality of Rio’s most difficult. Areas to mainstream audiences, and empowering 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 pounding 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 to be the only sound I’ve heard on my beginning day in the field. There’s something I need to take away from them, some personal beliefs I have to unravel.
A result that is a result of Brazil’s African diaspora, the funk genre (which is not as similar to the more popular George Clinton variety) began to pop up at the time of Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the 1990s, and with original lyrics composed in Portuguese. Last 10 years musicians have been making songs from other countries with new lyrics rather than translating original songs.
In the wake of contests for songwriting at the funk clubs, youngsters were turned into MCs, composing songs that referred to the slums in which they grew as children and declared their passion for parties and other activities available to young blacks who lived in Rio de Janeiro.
In the past the time was when women were not a lot performing on the stage. If they did perform, female performers, like the MC Cacau of the 1990s, who was a popular idol of the 1990s, frequently sang songs about love.
A notable alternative is 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 that was selected to Congress as a representative of the Workers’ Party but was subsequently subjected to a massive amount of prejudice from the mainstream media.
Dandara’s stage title 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 evolved into an abolitionist group.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the male-dominated nature of funk was threatened as more female MCs entered the scene. The pioneering MC Deize Tigrona, who hailed from Rio’s most well-known as well as most dangerous favelas City of God, was a housemaid at the time she made her debut by singing the funk genre.
Her songs are sexually explicit, but humorous. One of Deize’s early hit songs was Injecao where the shot she receives at the doctor’s clinic becomes an oblique reference to sexual sex in the genital area (the line: It hurts but I’m able to take it).
At the same time, 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 questioned the prevailing Brazilian beauty standards by singing”I’m ugly, but I’m stylish/I could afford a hotel room for an attractive man.
Funk Goes Feminist
As a defender of fame, money, as well as power Tati was one of the top females in the funk. Together Tati and Deize introduce what was later refer to as feminist funk. They influenced the next generation of female artists from the favelas.
In the next few months, the artist Valesca Popozuda was the first musician to call herself as a feminist. Valesca who is white chose to go by the name of Popozuda which means the woman who has a huge behind (a physical attribute that is admire within Brazil).
Since leaving her band Gaiola das Popozudas, to start her own solo music career Valesca is now known as a singer-songwriter with her explicit lyrics, which outline her prefer activities in bed, and not just with males as well.
With her songs, which show love for LGBTQ people, in addition to other communities. That are margin Her defense of 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 kinds. In other songs, Valesca has highlighted matters that matter to working class and women of low income who live in 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 suddenly begging for her back after. She’s been infidelity with him (as the way he did to her before). On stage, as Valesca declares herself as a slut and the women in the audience go crazy.
Following the example the pioneering musicians nowadays, female funk artists perform songs about a wide range of subjects. There are still gender discrimination, but. Women have made it as stage performers however, they’re not as popular as funk DJs, producers, and entrepreneurs. Men manage the in the background.
It’s likely to change, also. It’s not impossible for those Brazilian females who encased in a patriarchal culture. With strict Christian values discovered the power to shout in. The face of the entire world that this body is mine and translate to funk as. The fundamental feminist slogan. My body is my own.