Arts & Entertainment

Mandela, Obama, Beyonce honored in Rio Carnival parades

By Maria Angelica Troncoso

Rio de Janeiro, Apr 23 (EFE).- With a tribute to black people who have marked world and Braziilan history, the second night of parades of the samba schools of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival Special Group continued Saturday.

Representations of oliticians such as Nelson Mandela and Barak Obama and artists such as Beyonce and Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the film “Black Panther,” were part of the Paraíso do Tuiuti parade. That is one of the 12 participating schools that once again dressed the catwalk that extends for 700 meters in the center of Rio de Janeiro with music and color.

The euphoria was overflowing this year after the silence of 2021, when carnival was canceled for the first time in history due to the pandemic, something that had not happened seen since 1840, when the city organized its first official event.

The desire to party accumulated with its postponement this year as the parades were forced to take place in April and not late February as is tradition, just before Ash Wednesday. This normally gives way to 40 days of abstinence from meat, alcohol and other worldly pleasures during Lent.

Amidst the glitter and hubbub, the school also highlighted personalities such as the American activist Angela Davis and showed stories of struggle, such as that of Mary Winston Jackson, NASA’s first space engineer, who, at the beginning of her career there, had to work in a “black-only” division in times of segregation.

The range also included prominent names in Brazil such as Mercedes Baptista, the first black ballet dancer in the country, and Zumbi dos Palmares, the warrior who led a slave rebellion.

El enredo – as the stories narrated by the parades are known in Brazil – began by showing the essence of black people, their origin, culture and achievements.

It was an invitation to break down barriers and stereotypes and for people of African descent to feel proud of their origin.

Each parade of the samba schools of the Special Group, a kind of first division among these artistic groups, has about 4,000 people who tell a story with samba, brilliance and a high dose of creativity.

The diversity of their costumes and the majesty of the allegorical floats – some over 10 meters high – make the parades of the Special Group the main attraction of the Rio Carnival and make them the world’s greatest outdoor show.

Each of these schools has between 60 and 70 minutes to cross the Sambadrome, while the juries qualify criteria such as creativity, harmony, costumes or composition.

The result of this year will be known Tuesday, when the jury announces the new champion samba school and the Rio de Janeiro Carnival puts an end to the 2022 edition. EFE


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