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Raissa ‘Miss Brazil’ Santana

Raissa Santana has been crowned the first Black Miss Brazil for 30 years. Hopefully, she won’t have her crown taken away like one of her Black Brazilian compatriots.

Last weekend, Miss Santana became the first black woman to be crowned “Miss Brazil” in 30 years. The first  Black winner of Miss Brazil was Deise Nunes, back in 1986- which is now 30 years ago. This is due to Brazil’s continued struggle with racism, diversity and the Brazilian media’s lack of representation and support for Black Brazilians.

Miss Santana, is a 21-year-old marketing student, model and now pageant queen from the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Miss Santana will be representing Brazil at the Miss Universe competition in January.
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After being crowned Miss Santana said:

“I’m very emotional. This here is a mixture of great emotions. I didn’t expect to win this title, but I am very happy to have won this title and to represent black beauty and encourage girls who have the dream of having something, to conquer, to be a model, to be a Miss…now I want to encourage these girls and show them that they can.”

Last Black Miss Brazil Deise 1986

Last Black Miss Brazil Deise Nunes 1986

Miss Santana, 5ft 7ins and has been entering beauty pageants for four years. Sadly, she suffered racist slurs during her time leading up to the competition, according to her mother Rosineide Oliveira Santana. Mum Rosineide explained:

“Sometimes she was sad because prejudice is currently in our society.” She added: “Some comments about her skin and about where she is from made her sad, but she fought and won. She is wonderful.”

There are many who do not agree with the continued existence of beauty pageants. However, much like modeling and advertising in general, the beauty pageants help to give an insight into the so-called beauty standards and diversity in a country’s society.

Miss Universe Japan

Miss Universe Japan 2015

Countries like Japan have recently crowed mixed race beauty queens. The reaction to the decisions from the general public is usually indicative of how progressive, tolerate and diverse a country is becoming. In Japan’s case, some Japanese people were against Ariana Miyamoto Miss Universe Japan victory, they stated she wasn’t “Japanese enough”. However, I wonder if those same people complained about the mixed race athletes that represented Japan in the Rugby World Cup and in the silver medal winning Olympic 100m relay team.

Hopefully, Miss Santana’s Miss Brazil title and success will not be as temporary as her compatriot Nayara Justino. Miss Justino, also thought her dreams had come true when she was selected as the Globeleza carnival queen in 2013 after a public vote on one of Brazil’s biggest TV shows. However, after pictures of her in her crown were released to the public, she was stripped of the title because the public thought she was ‘too black’.

This is just one example of the colourism and racism that is still very much a reality in Brazilian culture. Something that is even more shocking considering Brazil has the biggest demographic of people of African origin outside of the Africa. According to the 2010 census, 50.7 percent of Brazilians identify as Black

Brazil has a population of approx. 210 million, therefore at least 105million Black people live in brazil. That is more than double the amount of African Americans [45 million]. However, some have said the representation of Black people in the media in Brazil is far worse than in America or any other country with a large number of the African diaspora.

We hope Raissa Santana Miss Brazil crown will help to promote more diversity in Brazilian media. However, it has to be said that Miss Santana is considerably lighter than Miss Justino, therefore progress will most likely still need to be forged further on if all women of colour are to feel their beauty is appreciated in Brazilian society.

If you want to see more image of beautiful women of colour, like BeautiFULLBlackness on facebook- an excellent page for black beauty and news.

Here’s is Antoine Allen(me) speaking about the impact of diversity on TV.

Let us know your thoughts
Do you agree with beauty pageants?
Do you think Brazil will ever make progress in diversity?
Have you experienced or seen racism in the media; how did it make you feel?
Please comment below and share; challenge someone to think a little deeper.

Antoine Allen
The 3 Cs of life; choice, chance and change- You have to make the choice to take the chance if you want anything to change’
Tweet me at @AntoineSpeakson
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