Telenovelas and Black Celebrity in Brazil (with Bruno Guaraná)

In this week’s episode, guest Bruno Guaraná discusses his article “Taís Araújo: The Black Helena against Brazil’s Whitening Television,” which traces key moments in the television career of one of Brazi’s most popular television celebrities Taís Araújo, including the several times she has been slated as “the first black protagonist” on different television shows. Guaraná argues that, against Brazilian television’s practices of whitening raced subjects and pushing forth a colorblind ideology, the construction of Araújo’s star image has ultimately turned her into a popular symbol of black female resistance.

“The key feature of Taís Araújo’s career here, is that while her earlier characters were presented as passing, and therefore being able to participate in a white society, today she can no longer play this kind of character because she can no longer be disassociated from her racial identity. She has worked so hard to present herself as black. And that’s very unique in her trajectory to be able to have the popular appeal that she holds today while not having to bend over to participate in a mostly white circle that television is.”

Episode Transcript (opens as PDF)

Show Notes

01:00 Bruno Guaraná’s work as Page Views editor in Film Quarterly

03:15 Filhas do Vento (Joel Zito Araújo, 2004)

06:30 The Masters and the Slaves A Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization by Gilberto Freyre

07:30Women’s Equality and National Liberation” by Angela Gilliam

10:00 Neither Black nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States by Carl Degler

13:00 a short keyword entry on intersectionality

15:00 A Negação do Brasil (Joel Zito Araújo, 2000)

19:00 an introduction to Grupo Globo

23:50 a 2016 profile on Taís Araújo in Vogue

40:00 Mister Brau (2015-)

46:00 Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media by Jasmine Mitchell

About the Guest

Bruno Guaraná is Master Lecturer of Film Studies in the Department of Film & Television at Boston University. Originally from Recife, Brazil, he received his PhD in Cinema Studies from New York University and his MA in Film from Columbia University. His current research explores negotiations of cultural citizenship in contemporary Brazilian media. He also serves as the Page Views Editor for Film Quarterly.