Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories
Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González
9. “Funk Isn’t a Trend; It’s a Necessity”: Favela Funk’s Vernacular Discourse and the Struggle for Cultural Legitimation
“It is now decided that funk is a musical and cultural movement,” states the text of a 2009 statutory law, proposed and promoted by favela funk artists and supporters (ALERJ, 2009). Rio de Janeiro’s favela funk is a musical genre and cultural movement poor folks of color developed in the 1980s. The characteristic beats, lyrics, dance moves, and clothing suggest a “social practice that is historically situated” (Lopes, 2011, p. 19): favela funk is the product of continuous unequal and violent conditions poor people of color face inside Rio’s slums. The movement has been the target of various government sanctions, most of which prohibit parties in favelas with the justification that they promote drug trafficking and promiscuous practices, among other morally condemnable reasons (Facina, 2009). When the 2009 bill was voted in the state’s legislature, supporters who were present sang and danced to the 1990s hit “Silva’s Rap,” a song about favela funk being a necessity for its poor people, and not just a cultural trend. This was an odd occurrence given the history of criminalization and persecution that same House promoted against the movement (Lopes, 2011). That day, many poor Afro-Brazilians walked into Rio’s state capitol for the first time with the goal of defending favela funk against the government’s historical maltreatment (Lopes, 2011). As a result of the positive vote, authors and supporters of the bill celebrated the fact that, like samba, funk would no longer be a...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.