over 370,000 people in just one carnival block in Rio early last year. But now she wants millions more, and from all over the world.is turning her back on Brazil — and for a good reason. One of the most successful singers of the 21st century, she alone gathered
In late April, Girl From Rio.” She had one goal in mind: conquer the ears of the world. Her method was by reshaping a notorious cultural soft power known as .released her most expensive video for her new song, “
The music video begins with clips of the singer dressed like a Hollywood star in 1950s. Surrounded by thin, mostly white men, sings an English adaptation of the internationally famous “ ,” which was released in 1962 by and . The video then shows viewers the real . A trap beat drops and our eyes shift to black people dancing in Piscinao de Ramos (Ramos’ Pool), an artificial beach created by the government in 2000 in the suburbs of Rio.
Bolsonaro’s Conservative Brazil?
For two years, argued that she was only 25 years old and had zero political knowledge.was heavily criticized by fans and artists for not taking a public stance over Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president. During the 2018 election campaign, she was questioned about her absence in the #EleNao (#NotHim) movement against Bolsonaro. At the time, she
Bolsonaro’s nationalist policies aim to bring back the beauty and glory of Brazil’s past. But the truth is that he is more known for his sexist, homophobic and racist declarations from his time in the Chamber of Deputies. Last year, one of his most trusted colleagues, Damares Alves, the minister of human rights, family and women, acted to stop a legal abortion on a 10-year-old girl, who became pregnant after being raped by her own uncle.
With Bolsonaro in power, Brazilians are currently living under a conservative administration. This is particularly reflected in the federal government’s cultural decisions. Bolsonaro’s government monitors exhibitions, music, films and TV shows and assesses if they align with the state’s view of family and religious values.
has finally posted statements on social media criticizing Bolsonaro’s administration. Yet none of her tweets are as powerful as the message her new video carries.
A Different Rio
“Hot girls, where I’m from, we don’t look like models,” she sings, with scantily clad women dancing on an artificial beach. The song puts an emphasis on women without silicone breasts showing off their bodies with cellulite. The video also shows black men putting cream on women to bleach their body hair, while others barbecue meat on the beach. Some couples even look like they’re almost having sex in the sea. This is a completely different Brazil from the country Bolsonaro wants to portray to the world.
’s video presents clips of the Rio suburb’s poverty, but in a funny and sexy way. The video focuses on the nostalgic past of a white that never really existed, but whose image was created with the help of the most popular rhythm of all time, . Translated as “new wave,” this genre is a mix of jazz, African beats and samba.
In 1962, the historical debut at Carnegie Hall by and Joao Gilberto helped bring to the world stage. In the same year, and released “ ” ( ), one of the most famous songs of all time. The muse to inspire the composers was Helo Pinheiro, a 17-year-old girl with blonde hair and blue eyes who walked every day on the beach.
As a successful singer whose fortune is estimated at $100 million at the age of 28, ’s cultural power overseas is being built song by song. In the past four years, 24 of her 32 singles were dedicated to international markets. Giovanni Bianco, a creative director, produced the “ ” video. He has worked several times with Madonna, who released the song “Faz Gostoso” with in 2019.
Changing Bossa Nova
Withbecoming more popular worldwide, the “ ” video cost at least $200,000. has already collaborated with international stars like Maluma, Major Lazer, Cardi B. and J. Balvin. The official launch party of the song took place at Strawberry Moon, a bar at The GoodTime Hotel in Miami whose partner is Pharrell Williams, an American singer and producer.
In May, “Girl from Rio” was the 58th most-listened song on Spotify after its release, with 1 million plays in Brazil and 400,000 in other countries. Although featured on popular US shows with NBC and also on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the song soon fell out of the top 100. With 54 million followers on Instagram, the singer’s fans accused Warner Music — the label is associated with — of not promoting the song worldwide.
In the video, the white images of the 1950s, carried by most popular genre in the world today. With the help of her record label or not, wants to conquer the world with a that is far from the one shown on postcards or holiday brochures — and certainly not the one Bolsonaro wants to promote.’s soft pace and soft power, give way to the colorful scenes in “ .” With its trap beat and variation of funk, this is the
wants to focus on empowering black people, women and those with standard bodies, not with abs, breasts and butts like models. She definitely knows what she’s doing.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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