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Hit Brazilian music video touches nerve over race, sexist abuse and inequality

Anittas made Vai Malandra, shot by Terry Richardson and viewed more than 31 m hours on YouTube, inspires the allegations of culture appropriation

The video for the most recent hitting from the Brazilian pop sensation Anitta opens with a close-up of her sashaying buttocks before weaving through the streets of a Rio favela and eventually depicting the sun dancing in a tiny bikini on a flooded rooftop.

Since its freeing on Monday, Vai Malandra( Go Bad Girl ) has been watched more than 30 m days on YouTube- and become the first song in Portuguese to enter the Spotify Global top 20 chart.

But the hit has also unleashed fierce debate in Brazil, disclosing the country’s social fault line as it grapples with issues of inequality, racism, sexist abuse and cultural appropriation.

Black activists have accused Anitta of appropriating black styles like hairbraids. Others have praised her for filming the video in the Vidigal favela and for celebrating the sexuality of black women and women from low-income regions like these.

And while the vocalist won plaudits from some feminists for the video’s unflinching shootings of her cellulite, she faced assaults for contracting Terry Richardson to aim the video- even though the way photographer was lately blacklisted by Vogue after repeated allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Juliana Borges, a researcher at the Foundation School of Sociology and Politics in Sao Paulo, expressed the view that Anitta should not have hired Richardson at a time when” women are creating their voices against insult, harassment and sexist violence in cultural industries “.

In October, Richardson was dropped by Conde Nast– publishers of GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair- and the Bulgari and Valentino fashion brands after sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful male culture figures inspired the worldwide #MeToo campaign to denounce abuse.

” The least we should do is guarantee that abusers are ostracised ,” Borges wrote for the website of the women’s publication Claudia.

In a statement, Anitta- who has won kudo for her enunciate ripostes to sexist criticisms- said that she had taken legal advice after discovering these allegations against Richardson.

” We examined all the possibilities ,” she said.” It is not only one person’s work .”

The video was shoot in August, but Richardson has faced allegations regarding abuse for more than a decade and has been denounced since 2013 by Caryn Franklin, a prof of diversity in fashion at the UK’s Kingston School of Art. He has persistently denied the accusations.

In her statement, Anitta said she had decided to keep her promises to the people of Vidigal.” As a woman I insist on reaffirming that I repudiate any kind of harassment and violence against us ,” she said.

Brazilians ought to have unfazed by the heavily sex imagery used throughout this clip, during which Anitta at one point wears a bikini made of insulation tape- a favela fashion designed to leave perfect tan lines.

Many assured the video’s use of brash favela style as a festivity of these marginalised, low-income communities- and noted that Anitta grew up in one of the city’s poorer neighborhoods.

But others said the star was only dressing up.

” Anitta use blackness where reference is suits her ,” wrote Stephanie Ribeiro, an designer and activist, in a editorial for Marie Claire.

The singer- who usually sports wavy, flowing locks – was accused of culture appropriation earlier this year after she shared pictures of herself tanned and wearing braids in Salvador, Brazil’s most African city.

” Nobody is totally white in Brazil ,” the superstar told the Folha de S Paulo newspaper. Her father and members of their families is black, she has previously said.

Writing on the website Revistacult, the Rio academic Ivana Bentes was contended that female superstars of Baile Funk- the sexually explicit Rio-born rap style that Anitta started out performing and turned over to for this song- were aligned with the openly sex feminism propagated by protest movements such as SlutWalks.

” Anitta’s live ass with its cellulite, without photoshop, is a topic and not an object ,” wrote Bentes.

” Anitta is part of an emergence of a feminine and virile feminism! Masculinity and masculinity can, yes, be appropriated and transformed by females .”

Bruna Aguiar, a university student and activist from Rio’s Acari favela, praised the starring for showing the world the favela culture, which gave rise to funk.

” The favela is very rich in music, in colour, in life. It’s good that the world is well known- that it knows we are not just bleeding bodies, gunfights and tears ,” she said.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world/ 2017/ dec/ 21/ anitta-vai-malandra-race-sexist-abuse-appropriation

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