Brazil’s Projeto Identidade, which translates to “the Identity Project” in English, proposes Black leads in traditionally white storylines.
If white and other light-skinned audiences are honest with themselves, there is no good reason not to have Black actors cast in these iconic roles. No other reason than systematic racism.
There have been studies showing that children excel when they see themselves represented in media. So why aren’t film and television producers listening?
Created by Noemia Oliveira and Orlando Caldeira, they want to know just how much damage has been done through decades of mis- and under-representation. We’re expected to suspend our disbelief over characters like magicaltalking snowmen, but the idea of a Black woman in a snowy land is preposterous. Has anyone even heard of Detroit?
It’s bad enough that men in cinema outnumber women by almost four men to everyone one woman, but when you break it down further by race, the numbers look even more dismal. The idea of “If she can’t see it, she can’t be it” extends to positive depictions of dark-skinned characters as well.
The United States is beginning to make a bit of diversity headway with successful television shows like Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Fresh Off The Boat, and Blackish, but it still remains a problem around the globe. A handful of successful shows does not make for tremendous change, but it does begin to humanize BIPOC in the eyes of otherwise sheltered white audiences who live in insular communities. Again, not enough, but it’s the beginning of a conversation that must grow and go on for a very long time.
Models in Projeto Identidade include well-known Brazilian personalities like Sheron Menezzes, Juliana Alves, Rafael Zulu, Milton Gonçalves, Jorge Aragão and Erika Januza. Project was created by Noemia Oliveira and Orlando Caldeira.