Black In America = Black In Brazil?
What do Black Brazilians and Black Americans have in common?
Can you think of anything?
- Rising above racism and white supremacy
- Similar histories in the Americas via Africa
- Black entrepreneurship
- Black Music
- World Class athletes
- Social movements for better education and opportunities
- Natural Hair Movement
- The fight against police brutality
Black people in Brazil have a similar story to Blacks in America – with slight differences.
So when author Habeeb Akande sent me a fresh copy of his latest book, Illuminating The Blackness: Blacks & African Muslims In Brazil – I was curious and ecstatic to read it.
This book shows you just how Black, Brazil really is.
Most people know nothing about the huge black population in Brazil.
You may hear comments like “Oh they aren’t Black, they are Latinos” or “Well, they aren’t really Black right?”.
In Akande’s new book, you’ll discover a powerful and interesting history about Blacks in Brazil.
Why You Should Read This Book
Like Habeeb, I’ve spent significant time over the years connecting with Black Brazilians.
- Volunteered at a Black English school.
- Spent 4 months living with a Black Brazilian family
- Met up with Black Brazilian social activists
- Spent time in Black Music clubs
- Exchanged English lessons for Portuguese lessons
It’s not by chance.
I actively pursue building relationships with Black Brazilians because it’s important to me to connect with people from other countries and cultures.
A quote in Illuminating The Blackness explains it clearly.
Malcolm X encouraged peoples of African descent to identify with oppressed people in the world and connect with their blood brothers in Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti and Cuba. He remarked, “Not one black man is prominent in Brazil. The Negroes there are still at the bottom.”
Habeeb explains how every black experience – whether it was in the Americas, Europe, Asia or even Africa – is similar.
During his trips to Brazil, Akande noticed the similarities between Black Cariocas (Black people from Rio de Janeiro) and Yorubas in Nigeria. He also noticed the racial hierarchy in Brazilian society that a few people sweep under the rug.
Because of this racism, Black Brazilian history – and African Muslim influence in Brazil – has been downplayed.
Later – he visited Salvador and Sao Paulo.
His features and casual attire helped him fit within Brazilian society – particularly in Bahia. In Salvador, Akande writes:
During my visit to Salvador, at times I felt as if I was in Nigeria. Some of the Bahian cuisine and a number of the customs are from West Africa. Many Bahians informed me that they were proud negros/negras (black) and are connected to their African history. Many morenos/morenas, (brown/mixed-race) Brazilians who phenotypically were Europeans – or Asian-looking, even spoke fondness of their African roots.
Akande decided to write Illuminating The Blackness because the current Brazilian educational system doesn’t teach the history of Black Brazilians and Muslims in Brazil.
Black people will never learn their history unless they tell it themselves
You should read this book if:
- You are interested in modern Black Brazilian culture and history
- You are Muslim and would like to learn about the Muslim presence in Brazil
- You are interested in the Pro-Black movement in countries besides America
- You are a Black traveler who is thinking about visiting Brazil – “What is it like being Black in Brazil?”
- You want to learn more about race in Brazil
- You support Black authors and Black entrepreneur
Illuminating The Blackness
Illuminating the Blackness presents the history of Brazil’s race relations and African Muslim heritage. The book is divided into two parts.
- Part I explores the issue of race, anti-black racism, white supremacy, colourism, black beauty and affirmative action in contemporary Brazil.
- Part II examines the reports of African Muslims’ travels to Brazil before the Portuguese colonisers, the slave revolts in Bahia and the West African Muslim communities in nineteenth century Brazil.
The author explores the black consciousness movement in Brazil and examines the reasons behind the growing conversion to Islam amongst Brazilians, particularly those of African descent.
The author also shares his insights into the complexities of race in Brazil and draws comparisons with the racial histories of the pre-modern Muslim world including a comparative analysis of the East African Zanj slave rebellions in ninth century Baghdad with the West African Hausa and Yoruba slave rebellions in nineteenth century Bahia.
Meeting the Sultan of Sokoto in Norther Nigeria xvi
Trips to Brazil xvii
Perceptions and Misconceptions of Brazilian Women xx
Final Thoughts on Being Black and Muslim in Brazil xxiii
Twenty Facts About Brazil That Many People Do Not Know xxv
Brazil’s Enslavement of Black Africans 4
Brazil’s Denial of Anti-Black Racism and White Supremacy 11
Fighting Racism through Education and Activism 21
Who is Black? What is Blackness? 22
African Influences on Brazilian Culture 33
Islam in the History of Brazil 41
Contributions of Africans Muslims to Brazil 48
The Islamic Revival in Brazil 53
Why are Brazilians Embracing Islam? 57
The Structure of the Book 66
RACE-RELATIONS IN BRAZIL
RACE, ETHNICITY AND SKIN COLOUR IN BRAZIL 73
The Miscegenation Ideology 74
The Whitening Ideology 80
The Ideology of Racial Democracy 86
The Census’ Racial Categories 92
BLACK BEAUTY IN BRAZIL 103
Skin Bleaching 107
Interracial Marriages 109
The Politics of Black Hair 114
The Media and the Fashion Industry 122
Appreciation of Black Beauty 134
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN BRAZIL 147
Advocates and Benefits 148
Opponents and Criticisms 155
A Problem for the White Elite 157
BRAZIL’S AFRICAN MUSLIM HERITAGE
AFRICAN MUSLIMS IN BRAZIL BEFORE THE PORTUGUESE 167
North African Moors in Brazil 168
West African Mandinkas in Brazil 171
Africans in Renaissance Europe 177
SLAVE REVOLTS IN BAHIA, 1807-1835 181
West African Culture 184
Bahia’s Slave Revolts 186
Was the Male Revolt a Success 204
Comparisons with the 869 Zanj Revolt in Baghdad 205
WEST AFRICAN MUSLIMS IN RIO DE JANEIRO, PERNAMBUCO AND ALAGOAS 213
Muslim Communities 214
Literacy and Qur’anic Schools 220
Women and Marriage 229
Black Heroines 235
Return to Africa 236
AFRICAN PERSONALITIES 239
Rufino Jose Maria 239
Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua 243
Efunroye Tinubu 245
The Racial Democracy Of Islam In Brazil 247
CATEGORIES OF WHITENESS AND BLACKNESS IN BRAZIL 251
CHRONOLOGY OF SLAVE REVOLTS IN BAHIA, 1807-1835 255
INDEX OF IMAGES 257
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 287
Discover Real Brazilian History
Read Illuminating The Blackness by clicking the link below