In the 1960s, Brazil experienced profound changes, due mainly to the emergence of the urban masses. At that time, political and cultural projects of a populist and nationalist nature appeared, supported by the idea of a national popular culture through which the masses would be led to a tomada de consciência (critical consciousness) of the country’s social problems. It fell to the intellectuals to lead the way, to create a distinctive national popular culture that, contrary to foreign imports, would reflect the true experience of the popular classes, among whom they proudly counted themselves. In this context, popular culture became associated with products made and distributed by the Centros Populares de Cultura (Popular Culture Centers—CPC). This essay aims at analyzing the role of the intellectuals affiliated with the CPC in realizing these objectives.