It appears to be always in the carnival. The black Samba Queen parading in a glittering costume through the Arena. She twirls artistically with your legs. She swings acrobatic your half-naked body. You sing along with hundreds of other dancers, the new competition song of their Samba school Mangueira: “Brazil, my Black, let me tell your story, a story that would not otherwise be told.”

But her costume is made of chains and shells. And in the face of Evelyn Bastos is wearing a muzzle made of iron. You defiled as a slave, Anastácia, the Brazilian black heroine in the fight against exploitation and sexual violence. Anastácia had to wear for the Rest of your life with a muzzle, because you refused to your slave owner Sex.

Broken Brazil

And then the Refrain of the Samba comes, and Evelyn Bastos sings it particularly noisy, especially with a name like a Statement, a cry of Protest in the night sky of Rio de Janeiro: Marielle!

It is the memory of Marielle Franco, the black politician and gay activist, who was executed a year ago in Rio specifically. “Marielle”, to shout out the other dancers. “Marielle!”

The Sambistas flags carry with Marielles photo, your widow, Monica Benicio with marches. You don’t show the desire, the exotic, the clichés of carnival. Show: Brazil is broken.

It runs one of the last rehearsals for the biggest Event of the carnival of Rio: the final of the best Samba schools of Brazil. Hundreds of drummers, dancers, flag bearers Mangueiras run through the sambadrome Arena. A colorful joyful train more than 3000 participants.


chains and a muzzle in the face: Samba Queen Evelyn Bastos as a slave, Anastácia, the Brazilian black heroine

©Valeria del Cueto

this year, However, it is at the same time a kind of protest March. The Song Mangueiras is about the history of Brazil, which is not written by kings and conquerors, but of indigenous people, the poor and the slaves. Of the Anastácias, the Marielles.

The unusual political contest post fits to this time, to the extreme right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro, who says: “I would rather have a dead son than a homosexual.” Homosexuality is, in his opinion, the consequence of a lack of shock. About Black Bolsonaro says: “they don’t do anything. The not good times to plant.”

a Few days after the trial, the Samba Queen Evelyn Bastos runs through their Favela. The poor district at the famous Maracana stadium is their home. Here she was born in the Samba, she says. She wears the hair long, Shorts Shorts, and a pink-and-green T-Shirt in the colors of Mangueiras. About your appearance with a muzzle, she says: “I developed the idea of spontaneous order not only to racism, but also on the sexual violence. Incredible as it may appear to be in the year 2019, are still current issues.”

“carnival of activism”

Bastos is 25 years old. For 21 years she has spent with the Samba. For the past five years, she is the Queen of the school, the highest achievement of all. Brazilian Stars have offered up to € 150,000, to hold your Items. She finds it “terrifying”. Mangueira has not accepted any offers. You want to have a Queen from their own locality, not least to show the children that you can also create.

“the carnival is the only Moment where the world takes the poor true, the Favelas, the slums. Because we are the artists of this Festival,” says Bastos. “Marielle was a favela girl who had done it, went to school, and for human rights is fought. She is a role model for women, especially for girls, the think that you as a Black not a Chance.”

a Samba Queen openly to the policy expressed, is unusual for carnival in Rio, this show of lust for Life. Bastos wants to show the world that black Samba dancers are more than “crunchy”, “tasty”, “delicious” – words that are used in Brazil otherwise. “I am a woman who knows no fear,” she says. “I’m moving into, but also in the fight. Our greatest freedom is the freedom of expression. And I decide to defend the people.”

During the carnival Bastos takes part in one of the 509 Blocos, street parades. It takes place in front of the house Bolsonaros in the district of Barra da Tijuca. “This is more than a move. This is a Demo of the Sambistas against the President,” she says. The political moves to give the gigantic (one Million foreign tourists, of 1.5 billion euros in revenues) this year in advance of the epithet: “the carnival of activism”.


her face everywhere in the city, her Name on everyone’s lips: The black politician, Marielle Franco was 2018 in Rio

©Daniel Ramalho/AFP

murdered The Samba school Unidos da Tijuca, has a political Song about bread and Hunger for your Parade selected. Another school, Academicos da Rocinha, shows images of dead or disappeared children from the gang wars in the Favela. The Bloco Sargento Pimenta chose the slogan “Revolution is all we need”. The removals of the LGBT Community (“No one can ban our way to love”) to March for the defence of their rights – in times, as in Brazil, per year, more than 350 people are the victims of homophobic murders.

The politicization of the carnival, the response to a President released in a first order of business for the purchase of firearms, and the Christian hardliners and the military at the top of its government. “His Motto is ‘In the name of the family?'”, Bastos says: “This means for him that his family members get all of the Items in the policy.”

Destroyed career opportunities

Evelyn Bastos itself is another challenge. After the carnival, she wants to marry, the emerging conservative members Marcelo Coutinho from Sao Paulo. He showed recently with a grin on Bolsonaros page and posted the image on social media. It seemed like a cover letter.

Bastos was showered with comments: How could you get involved with a guy like that? As you stand before a choice: your friend or his career. She said: “it is Clear that I would make a photo, never.” And hand destroyed short the career opportunities of your loved one: “I know very well that his view is compatible with mine. In a trailer Bolsonaros I could fall in love with me.”