Performance and Embodied Politics in Favela Funk
Introducing Bitches Unleashed
In the music video for Linn da Quebrada’s “Coytada” (“Poor Girl”),1 she chops up dildos of different shades on a cutting board. The video mimics a cooking show in which Linn and fellow Black travestis Jup do Bairro and Slim Soledad sensually and frantically play with baking ingredients: swallowing and spitting back out eggs, blowing flour on each other, pouring milk in their own mouths, and using rolling pins on dildos. The lyrics suggest that Linn would rather have sex with the devil than with someone who only likes “gym rats” and “bulls” (muscular men) because, according to her, “I’m very effeminate.”2 Linn da Quebrada illustrates well why I have been obstinate in my interest in favela funk as a research topic for the last 10 years. When I first started to notice the movement for the purpose of studying it, a performance like hers—even her popularity—would have been unthinkable. This book is a result of my journey after a decade of dedication to, first, women in favela funk and, now, to all who perform femininities within the movement. They are known as the funkeiras.
Rio de Janeiro’s favela funk is a musical genre and cultural movement developed by poor folks of color in the 1980s. The characteristic ←1 | 2→beats, lyrics, dance moves, and clothing suggest a “social practice that is historically situated:”3 favela funk is the product of the continuous unequal and violent conditions poor people of color face inside Rio’s...
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