In 1981, Brazilian songwriter and singer Dona Ivone Lara released Sorriso Negro. From its title, Black Smile, to many of the songs, the album reflects the fundamental shifts engulfing Brazil in a moment when exiles exposed to civil rights and feminist movements abroad reinforced debates about these issues to a nation under decades of authoritarian rule. "Resistência pela existência: Dona Ivone Lara, Sorriso Negro e ativismos nos últimos anos da ditadura brasileira" argues that despite Lara's reluctance to identify herself as an activist, several elements of Sorriso Negro turn it into a symbol of the black and feminist movements in Brazil and one example of what the author calls Resistance by Existence. Lara was a path-breaker black woman in the heavily masculine world of samba, and at the time of the album's release, her figure gained prominence. The sense of an imminent return to democracy allowed the feminist and the black movements to develop fully. Now, the issue at stake was not only how to put an end to the dictatorship, but what role specific under-represented groups would play in a civil society from which they had long been disenfranchised. Sorriso Negro was at the center of this quest.


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pp. 46-61
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