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On the 52nd anniversary of his death, rappers discuss the importance of Malcolm X to Brazilian Hip Hop

quarta-feira 1º de março de 2017, por Ciranda,

One could argue that Malcolm X’s words may be even more important to Afro-Brazilians than his immediate audience, African-Americans.

Under the influence of X: (clockwise from top left) rappers Eduardo Facção, Emicida, Xis, GOG, Mano Brown and Thiago Elniño

Note from BW of Brazil: Last week, on February 21st, millions around the world commemorated the 52nd anniversary of the legendary human/civil rights activist Malcolm X. And while the iconic messenger’s physical presence may have ceased to exist more than five decades ago, his memory and importance lives on and continues to inspire scores of his “spiritual children” in many ways. This influence can be noted among many of his disciples in Brazil’s Hip Hop community. In a country such as Brazil in which black identity was severely undermined and discussions of racism pushed under the rug as if it didn’t exist, one could argue that Malcolm X’s words may be even more important to Afro-Brazilians than his immediate audience, African-Americans. And it is quite fitting that Afro-Brazilians know the teachings of Malcolm X as Malcolm clearly knew of the existence of Afro-Brazilians. In his classic 1965 autobiography, Malcolm spoke of:
“probably 100 million people of African descent are divided against each other, taught by the white man to hate and to mistrust each other. In the West Indies, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, all of South America, Central America! All of those lands are full of people with African blood!”

And it was the words of Malcolm X that awakened a sense of black consciousness in countless people of African descent in Brazil. Many black Brazilians to this day continue to cite The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of the essential books to their understanding of what it means to be black and the system of racism/white supremacy. With the translation of the book into Portuguese as well as the availability of the Spike Lee directed 1992 masterpiece film, scores of black Brazilians were able to take Malcolm’s teachings and experiences in the United States and apply them to a Brazilian context. On YouTube today, one can find numerous speeches made by Malcolm with Portuguese subtitles included so that the man’s message continues to reach younger generations.

Perhaps the best examples of a younger generation are lyricists and performers in Brazil’s Hip Hop world. Read the complete article here.