Race & Identity
Black Brazilians Inspired By 'Black Panther' Occupy White Spaces In Defiance Of Systematic Oppression
A majority white mall was taken over by beautiful, young black people.
Black Panther's influence has gone far beyond the movie theatre, inspiring political movements abroad that are challenging white supremacy.
Afro-Brazilians inspired by the success of the hit Marvel comic book film took over Shopping Leblon mall, which is located in the neighborhood of Leblon in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, Monday to make a simple statement: black people are not going anywhere. The upper-class mall is one of Rio de Janerio's wealthiest, where black people are often employed but rarely seen as patrons, reports The Intercept.
These types of protests, rolezinho pretoi or the “black stroll,” are common in the country and other Latin nations. Around 2012, the protests started with Facebook event postings calling groups of black people to meet in white spaces to help defy ingrained segregation. For the film's release, organizers Reinaldo Junior and Licínio Januário resurrected the protest to bring young and beautiful black fans to watch Black Panther at the shopping center.
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“The great message of this film is that we have to write, we have to produce, we have to unite and do it together,” explained Januário. As Black Panther becomes more of a global phenomenon, the protesters hope that there's a change in how white people view the black community.
Ygor Marinho, a 28-year-old resident of Rio de Janeiro, was similarly moved when he watched the film on Monday.
“A movie with 90 percent black actors fills me with pride,” Marinho said. “It makes me want to win. It makes me want to fight. It makes me like myself more, like my own skin tone, like my kind of hair, like the shape of my nose, like the shape of my lips, like myself more.
"Because you start to see people who are like you and you see how they carry themselves — empowered, happy with themselves — and you start to like yourself better. And you see there’s nothing wrong with you — that, really, black is beautiful, black is capable, black is incredible, and blackness needs to be respected.”
Throughout the rest of the month, there are a number of other events that will gather young black Brazilians to challenge the systems of oppression.