Sonic Blackness: Race, Space, and Voice in Afro-Brazilian Radio

Reighan A Gillam (University of Michigan)

In 2007, a group of Afro-Brazilian college students started the Dandaras radio program under the aegis of their university in São Paulo, Brazil. This paper examines the ways in which these radio presenters make blackness audible through their broadcasts. Dandaras producers continually marked blackness through their choice of words, programmatic content, and
musical choices. Additionally, Dandaras broadcasts revealed a spatial component through their iterative references to particular locations throughout the city that referred to social events, leisure activities, and resources directed towards Afro-Brazilians. This audible encouragement of Afro-Brazilians to inhabit urban space and access the city’s resources ran counter to the segregationist impulses that pervade São Paulo. Giving voice to blackness through radio technology challenges the silencing mechanisms of racial democracy that scholars have illuminated and demonstrates how Afro-Brazilians are accessing media technology as another locus through which to advance their agenda of racial recognition.
[Text Originally in the AAA 2013 Program]