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Photo: Mídia NINJA

Rio de Janeiro Has Named March 14th 'Marielle Franco Day—Against the Genocide of Black Women'

The day will be used to promote community wide reflection on the killings of black women.

Following the targeted assassination of Afro-Brazilian human rights activist and city council member Marielle Franco this past March, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, has named March 14th, the date of Franco's untimely death, "Marielle Franco Day—a day against the genocide of black women" in Rio de Janeiro, reports The Rio Times.

The ordinance states that the day be used to promote community-wide discussion and reflection on the killings of black women in Brazil through lectures and public debates.

"To have March 14th as a date that saves and revives Marielle Franco's struggle for the lives of black, poor, favela and peripheral women is very important and symbolic," Renata Souza, Franco's former Chief of Staff told O Globo.

"It is urgent that black women be the focus of public policies because they are the main victims of the lack of state assistance. Therefore, it is these black women who in the last ten years have the highest rates of feminicide when they are murdered by their spouses in abusive relationships," she added.


But domestic abuse isn't the only violence threatening black women in Brazil. "They are also the main victims of obstetric violence, in public hospitals and also because of abortions in backyard clinics, says Souza. "They are the main victims of maternal death. Either we deal with these matters in earnest, as Marielle treated them, or black women will continue to be the main victims of the State's neglect."

READ: The Assassination of Marielle Franco and the Dawn of Brazil's New Civil Rights Movement

Franco death rocked the world and highlighted Brazil's ongoing struggle with stark racial inequality. Franco committed her life and career to voicing the struggles of neglected black populations living in the country's favelas. She won her post as a city council member despite being considered an underdog in Rio politics on account of her gender and race.

Despite Rio police stating that they would "ramp up efforts" to find Franco's killers back in May, they are still yet to make an arrest in relation to her murder.

Street art dedicated to Marielle Franco in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.Photo by Antoinette Isama.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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