100% Digital Black Culture
Cultne is a Brazilian based not-for-profit media entity whose primary focus is on preserving the black experience in Brazil through the collection (digital archive), creation and making publicly available relevant video, music and film works. Since its inception in 2009 Cultne Media has amassed more than 3,000 hours of digital works covering the history and culture of black Brazil making it the largest aggregator of the black experience in South America. Cultne’s core advocates are the vastly under-documented Afro Brazilians who seek political and economic empowerment and a true recognition of their massive contribution to Brazilian society, both economically politically and artistically. The universal appeal of this content is proven by the fact that the Cultne community demographics is equally divided between men and women, mainly spanning an age group of 16 to 54, and has accumulated 5 million YouTube page visits mostly from all parts of Brazil but including people from many other countries.
The history of black Brazil parallels the histories of all other Afro Descendant populations in the western hemisphere, within the context of slavery and racism. Because of these histories and shared cultures, Cultne’s creators knew and understood the historical, political, and economic antecedents of the Afro Brazilian community. They also understood the power of mainstream Brazilian media, which has historically portrayed blacks either with powerful negative stereotypes or has simply ignored them. In short, mainstream media has and continues to exclude the largest segment of the Brazilian population.
However, Afro Brazilians have always been aware and receptive to black liberation movements around the globe starting with Africa in the 1950s, then the victories of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers in the USA, and culminating in the victory over apartheid in South Africa. Collectively, these events mobilized and inspired Afro Brazilians in many ways. However, parallel to these struggles were those in Brazil that started in the 1930s with the Brazilian Black Front (Frente Negra Brasileira) and the Black Experimental Theatre (Teatro Experimental do Negro – TEN) in the 1940s and 1950s. These huge cultural movements were followed by the emergence in the 1970s of brave intellectuals such as historian/anthropologist Beatriz Nascimento and sociologist Lélia Gonzalez, whose research geminated new ideas of the Afro Brazilian sense of identity and its movement. They joined their voices to that of pioneer black artist and intellectual Abdias de Nascimento who created TEN in the 1940s and went on to become a politician in the 1980s. One result was the foundation of new organizations such IPCN (Institute of Research into Black Culture), MNU (Unified Black Movement), Afoxé Children of Gandhi, (Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi), the Renascença Club, Jongo da Serrinha and Quilombo Samba School. Another advancement was the advent of Afro carnival groups created in Bahia such as Ilê Aiyê, Malê Debalê, Araketu and Olodum, followed in Rio de Janeiro by Axé Terê Baba, Agbara Dudu, Dudu Odara, Filhos de Dã, Lemi Ayô, Orunmilá, etc. At the same time, political opposition was taking to the streets, from mass protests for the return to democracy after the 1964- 1980 military dictatorship to specific protests against racism as in the1988 March marking the centenary of the Abolition of Slavery.
During the 1960’s the aesthetics of Afro Brazilians were absorbing cultural influences from the United States. Particularly evident was the visual display of African American hair-styles and fashion, as well as the learning and usage of English and the style of James Brown’s “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud”, with the concept of black beauty. Such valorization gave rise to the now famous Black Rio Movement of Rio de Janeiro. The origin of this movement began with DJs who organized parties playing Soul and R&B music in the clubs in the northern districts of Rio. These parties attracted mostly Afro Brazilian teenagers and young adults, and were usually held on Sundays. The scene changed significantly when Dom Filó (one of the creators of Cultne) emerged and began producing and marketing soul parties at Renascença Club in the late 1960’s. The club was a sports and social center created in the 1950’s targeting upwardly mobile Afro Brazilians. The Renascença Club was used because traditional white dominated clubs denied black inclusion and were riddled with racial prejudice.
Consequently, the recording of all these political and artistic movements was important. Thus in the early 1980s, film and video producers such as Ras Adauto and Vik Birkbeck created Enúgbarijo Communications, with name of a messenger Eshú, the Boca Coletiva, or Collective Mouth. Dom Filó and Carlos Alberto Medeiros created Cor da Pele Productions, along with the concept of Griot, via Electronic Quilombo. Over time, these individuals and others recorded and produced invaluable content from all over the country about the Brazilian black experience. These recordings from the 1980s and 1990s formed the base for the original foundation of the Cultne Archive in 2009.
CULTNE TV - is a weekly program, hosted by different Afro-brazilian presenters, who interview personalities ranging from activists, historians, feminists, painters, poets, singers, priests, musicians, doctors and other accomplished professionals discussing the vast richness of Afro-brazilian culture and history. The program is the only one of its kind in the country and is broadcast on Rio de Janeiro State Channel TV Alerj as well as on Cultne’s successful YouTube channel. The intent is to provide a window to know the past, advance the present and influence the future. The program had its premiere on December 5, 2015, and is presented every Saturday at 9:30 pm, and also on Sundays at 6 pm and on Wednesdays at 9 pm.
CULTNE’s website hosts new and interesting video productions about black culture in Brazil. If you have any kind of material on that subject, in digital or analogical format, access the website, register and help us to increase our inventory. The concept is to facilitate a collective input so that nothing else gets lost or forgotten in our history and make it available to all.
SERVICES - BUSINESS CONSULTANCY
Cultne also provides business consulting on a range of subjects including black culture, black heritage tourism, production of film, television, music, and live events, and entering the emerging market of Brazil. Previous clients include Essence Communications, the National Basketball Association, Rio de Janeiro City Tourist Board, etc.