At the start of this month Brazilian TV celebrated a first. On Saturday August 4, two black journalists jointly anchored RedeTV! News. For a country where 54 percent of its population identifies as black, the feat of such a duo is worth celebrating even as it shows just how rare it is to see two black anchors on screen in the same program. Luciana Camargo and Rodrigo Cabral acknowledged the milestone while on the air. “It’s a great honor and a great responsibility too,” said Cabral.
Even as a one-off, the historic pairing point to a slow if steady change when it comes to Afro-Brazilian representation on TV. A 2017 Vaidapé study showed that the numbers are as dispiriting as you’d imagine. Only 3.7 percent of news presenters are black: that means there’s only 10 black presenters. In contrast there were 261 white presenters in the data analyzed. That’s what allows for certain racist sketches to go on air — like the blackface comedy skit we saw a few months ago on Fox Sports Brazil. The study findings merely cemented what black Brazilians have long known. They are never proportionately represented on television. Unsurprisingly perhaps, RedeTV! boasted the most diverse group of news anchors.
When Dennis Oliveira, a doctor of social communication was asked by Vaidapé about their findings, he was unequivocal. The numbers merely showed racism at work: “One of the manifestations of racial discrimination is that you ban the introduction of black men and women into positions of visibility.” It’s unknown whether Luciana and Rodrigo will get a chance to co-anchor again in the future since Luciana has been promoted to international correspondent, but as they made clear in their broadcast, neither was going to let their historic two-hander go by without celebrating it. Check how they did so below.
[h/t: AfroLatino Fest]