AfroReggae: Antropofagia, sublimation, and intimate revolt in the favela

Academic Article


  • The documentary Favela Rising (2005) and its companion narrative, Culture is Our Weapon (2010), depict the AfroReggae cultural movement as a break with the past, a means of creating citizenship for Brazilian favelas. A leitmotif of the film is struggling to end the communities' "paralysis" caused by the domination of drug lords and corrupt, brutal police. Many residents and viewers feel that the favela lies outside the Brazilian nation. However, this essay shows that AfroReggae is part of a Brazilian artistic tradition that begins with Oswald de Andrade's "Manifesto antrop√≥fago" (1928). Andrade focuses on sublimation, translating emotions into art. But Andrade's ideas, while sometimes inspired by the favelas, did not reach most of their residents until later movements, such as Freire's pedagogy of the oppressed, Boal's theater of the oppressed, and Quilombhoje's Cadernos Negros. This history explains why AfroReggae stands out among today's literatura marginal, most of which is a continuation of the determinist Naturalist tradition. Andrade's essay and AfroReggae's performances predate and confirm Kelly Oliver's argument that the oppressed need a sublimation space to combat oppression. AfroReggae and the Brazilian tradition they represent have much to teach about how art can transform communities around world.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Hispania  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Maddox JT
  • Start Page

  • 463
  • End Page

  • 476
  • Volume

  • 97
  • Issue

  • 3