(Sorry today's Fact Saturday Rio instead of Fact Friday Rio. I promise this post is worth the wait!)
Funk carioca is a type of dance and music that originated in Rio’s favelas, inspired by the U.S.-based movement of Miami Bass. Common themes in funk are politics, violence, race and sex.
This is a video-story post. That means you need to watch each of these videos as we go, or you won’t understand the story. It should take approximately 30 minutes to complete, and I promise it will be world-view-altering!
Since the Miami Bass genre inspired Rio-based Funk, I’d love to explore this influence. According to ever-trustworthy Urban Dictionary, the most famous Miami Bass group is 2 Live Crew.
The titles of their songs alone are telling. You don’t have to watch the entirety of this video to get the gist.
Things to note: sexual harassment at 0:57 (we can’t fix it if we don’t name it), Atlanta Braves jersey at 0:59 (small world, huh?), 90’s-tastic video effects, misogyny (if you disagree, let’s discuss in the comments section).
If you find this video shocking, I promise I’m going somewhere with this.
From the sounds and movements of Miami Bass emerged Rio-based funk. DJ Marlboro is credited with pioneering Funk Carioca with his album Funk Brasil. (I couldn’t find a video, but note the lyrics.)
Women rose from the ranks of dancers to MCs in the early 2000s, a decade after the genre emerged. The “queen of the scene” is Tati Quebra-Barraco:
(Did you notice the male dancers?)
Another MC is Deise Tigrona. As is common when women enter a male-dominated space, Tigrona faced close observation and relentless critique. Her explicit sexual lyrics spark controversy that questions whether her message is liberating or oppressive.
Whew. After all of this, does anyone else feel like Baby in this scene?
But we’re not done! (This is the best part.)
I’m leading up to one of my favorite artists, someone I happen to have
a bit of a huge crush on. Inspired by the beats of Deise Tigrona (above) and perhaps by her past relationship with DJ Diplo (although, let’s not over-emphasize this), M.I.A is credited with bringing international attention to the funk carioca style through the song Bucky Done Gun.
Do watch the entirety of this video, because it’s awesome:
So, did anyone else pick up on that? Where we started (voiceless naked women’s bodies juxtaposed with fully clothed men’s faces + degrading lyrics) to where we ended up (outspoken, engaged, controversial female rapper)? What a transformation!
The world can change.
(Please note: This isn’t to say that misogyny is absent from present-day funk, but I enjoy celebrating the progress.)
To remind us of hope for future generations lest we forget, let’s conclude with a look at M.I.A’s son wearing House of Holland couture (ya know, speaking of overcoming misogyny and poverty and all…and because I love babies):
Now, you can stop here, because that’s pretty much the story. But if you’re too excited to quit, I’ll give you one more.
Bonde Do Role is an internationally-celebrated group from the south of Brazil that has gained popularity in the past few years. They include funk carioca in their mixes. Diplo signed them, so we come full circle.
This video will blow your socks off, and it offers too much for my feminist analytical brain to process in this blog post.
Thoughts on funk carioca? Translations? Analysis? You discuss, I need a breather.