MEET THE COLLECTIVE IMUNE - INSTANT OF BLACK MUSIC

Appeared in 2016 in Belo Horizonte, the Coletivo IMuNe is a platform for artistic creation that connects black artists from all over the country, recognizing and strengthening their presence in the music ecosystem. The creator of the project, Bia Nogueira, tells how this fundamental initiative came about: “IMuNe came about in a curious way. I am a theater and music artist, and after many years, I decided that I wanted to record a record, but I didn't feel represented. When I saw that the scenario here in Belo Horizonte did not have people like me, black women, approved in public notices, who were not in the festivals line-ups, I realized that there was a gap, and I only saw this because I was part of a collective of women that fostered the scene of composers, which is the Sonora, the same as the festival and for which I am one of the coordinators. This initiative that spread around the world was the provocation of a fellow countryman, Deh Mussulini. I think it's important to say this because ideas don't come out of nowhere, they have ballast, so when Deh proposed this Sonora, a festival only for female songwriters, I saw that the same thing happened with black music and then I had the idea to do something like. Soon I had a snap of the name, which is IMuNe (Instante da Música Negra), and I put that name like that, hanging on my mirror for six months, during which I was inviting many black artists to be part of the project, but none of them could , I could, because they were doing a lot of freelances. Black artists have to rush to survive, right, because I think structural racism puts us in that place ”.

Deciding to continue with the project, Bia then thought that the way was to do a show herself. “I called my band, A Carta, to accompany me in Suricato, a space of the city hall that receives independent music, and there I played the first show saying that it was the launch of IMuNe, the moment of black music. Whoever went to this show and was an artist and was black, I invited him to join the collective and so I think nine artists took it, ”she says. Today the collective has six members: Cleopatra, Gui Ventura, Maíra Baldaia, Raphael Sales and Rodrigo Negão and appropriates Bia Nogueira.

Shortly thereafter, IMuNe held a show, approved from a public notice, and the result was excellent. “For you to have an idea, we had 12 vacancies, more than 80 artists signed up, many of whom we had never heard of”, says Bia. From this experience it was evident that there were many black artists, what was missing was space for their presentations. “Since then, Immune has this idea of promoting the black artists scene, because Brazilian music, if you look very closely, Brazilian popular music is black music, but generally the white artists are the ones who get recognition, so our intention is to give visibility to these artists ”, he says.

Since then, IMuNe has been expanding its actions, having produced several exhibitions in the capital of Minas Gerais, in the interior and in other states. One of them, which took place in Belo Horizonte, lasted a year. The collective has also held numerous debates with music professionals to discuss the serious problem of racism in the music industry. “The collective's idea is to strengthen black careers. At first we were just a show, but then we started to realize that there were gaps in various stages of the production chain, and we started to act as a kind of agency, for the careers of artists who participate in the collective, ”says Bia. “We are also a producer that promotes festivals and exhibitions and this year we are opening the week of black music. We are working 360 degrees, we will have courses, workshops, workshops, consultancy. We are thinking about the formation of artists, of debates. So if I had to summarize, I would say that we are a platform that operates in 360 degrees ”, he concludes.

 And as Bia herself recognizes, the project has achieved great success. “We managed to get Natura Musical to sponsor the project this year, from Cemig, so we gradually managed to create a website with a blog and we have a new feature for 2021: several black writers will be present on the IMuNe blog, the editor in chief is Marcos Fábio de Faria, my partner, black intellectual and researcher. We have already had support from SESC, we have important partners such as the Group of Ten, Associação Campos das Vertentes, who provided a lot of support and space, support from Estação Criativa, and SIM São Paulo itself, which is giving us a very important space to talk about black music and racism in the arts. What I am understanding is that finally society, after many decades of struggle by the black movement, is understanding that racism is a problem for society as a whole, not just blacks and blacks so I think it is important to reiterate these supports, because I really believe that non-black people can join our struggle and facilitate our journey ”. In that year, the project was also contemplated with the Aldir Blanc Law and, as of now, they are engaged in the fight for this law to become permanent. “Despite all the humanitarian tragedy that is the pandemic, and that is also a tragedy due to the irresponsibility of this government, even more tragic for that reason, it was a year of an important turn for the collective IMuNe and I hope that we can benefit many black and black artists from this parents."

Another great initiative of the collective is the IMuNe festival, which this year, due to the pandemic, was held in a hybrid format. “The festival took place online, but it was also projected in two gables of Belo Horizonte in the center of the city and also in the cluster of Serra, which is a very large community cluster, in the Cultural Center called Lá da Favelinha, from where we broadcast the festival. . There was the presence of our honored queen Elza Soares. Instead of having a festival along the same lines, we thought, since we are three professional actors among the six in the collective and I am a director, we made a show that had the presence of Djonga acting as a Griô, a timeless storyteller who linked the various shows. We did an Afro-apocalyptic show. This concept is from Rodrigo Jerônimo, from the Group of Ten, where we argue that the world started to end when the first person was enslaved there in 1500, and what we are living today is a reflection of this irrationality of capitalism that we always want rather, a system based on exploitation. We then brought Djonga as this Afro-apocalyptic figure, this timeless Griô, who looks to the past, who is in the past, present and future. The text is by Marco Fabio de Farias, so we did a show with the shows all interrupted by this text, this reflection, and also with the presence of a dance group called Lá da Favelinha, and the first show of Banda Immune dos six artists performing as a band and who were cuddled up by Elza Soares, it was very beautiful. ”

Bia also talks about the difficulties faced in this very unusual year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and what it was like to make the decision to make the festival in the virtual world: “We took a long time to make the decision to make an online festival because it is very It is difficult for a project like ours to get a massive contribution, so we were very afraid about how to spend this money, analyzing the market trends a lot, not only here but outside Brazil as well. We don't stop working for a second. I think that like all culture workers, we had to reinvent ourselves. The Aldir Blanc law took a long time to come out, and it made our work very heavy, everyone was very insecure, so managing money that you don't know if it's the last one was very painful, to put it in more personal terms, because it doesn't it's just work, art is our life, I live this the inkwell time. Now there is a promise of these executions of Aldir Blanc, of a struggle for it to be a permanent policy. It is good to say that this law is not a concession from the government, it is the result of a lot of struggle by the people of culture, of pressure from these people at a more progressive bench in the congress. So I think now we have to continue to execute, to go up, to demand that these policies be permanent and now with a little more tranquility, to guarantee a subsistence, because artists in general, but especially black artists, would have to leave the profession and catch an underemployment. As much as the law was something of a last minute, a lot of money was going back to the federal government, but I think now is the time to fight for it to be placed as a permanent policy ”.

When asked about plans for the future, Bia is very optimistic: “I am very happy, I think our work is not over, it just increased. Online I think it's a little more exhausting, but I'm optimistic about the future, thinking that this year, despite everything, we can have many achievements ”.

“In the 70's, we had art on the battlefront against the military dictatorship and we went back to this place of leading this fight, not just being there watching, and if I had to say a good thing about it all, I would say that finally we return to our place, which is the place to question oppression, to question this unfair world, to look at reality, to look beyond the colors, I would say that this is a positive balance, we in culture managed to reframe this moment, we need to join, unite and I hope that this moment will be the beginning of a great resumption against fascism. When we understand that culture makers are male and female workers like the rest of the Brazilian people, we have a very big power there ”, Bia says.

And at the end of the interview, Bia makes an interesting appeal: “Our goal at IMuNe is to map these initiatives that foster music produced by black people in Brazil. We want to map and dialogue with these other initiatives, so I leave here an appeal for producers and producers throughout Brazil, who are doing their black music festival, to get in touch with us so we can get stronger too, I think the DNA IMuNe is about cooperation, solidarity. We have received a lot of help and we have also distributed. I really believe that this is the great difference of IMuNe, we work in a real network and distribute some of our accesses. Our idea is to pull out those who still don't have these facilities and redistribute that share, I think that other initiatives in the country that have the same objective and my desire is very important, my dream is to get to know more and more of these enterprises so that we can strengthen ourselves so that the industry cultural and the mainstream media realize the great strength of this music and of these black musicians ”.

During the 2020 edition of SIM São Paulo, Bia Nogueira spoke about her work in an interesting interview with Jup do Bairro, which is available at Expo Hall da Varanda Budweiser, here on the SIM portal. Remembering that to attend you must purchase a SIM Community subscription, or acquire a credential Catch Up, with which you also have access to all the content of SIM São Paulo until January 31st.

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