AFRO STREAM. WINDECK EP01 – THE EDGE OF BLACK BEAUTY, SEDUCTION, REVENGE AND POWER ✊🏾😍😜 – FULL EPISODE, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEh2dVrTGp8.
This Telenovela has happened to be a large influence for my research because of the relevancy in both the fashion and music industries. Everyone in Angola watches this show which makes it so culturally relevant. It is still airing and incorporating new music and fashion aspirations. In this first episode you can see the mix of hip hop, afrobeat, Latin American fashion and the struggle to make it in the transnational fashion industry that is so cut-throat.
From my observations while reading about Angola and Brazil’s cultural exchange, this show was one that truly unified the ideologies of the suitcase traders, the Kuduro artists and how they value Brazilian aspirations of wealth. From one of my main sources, Barreau-Trann explained how telenovelas that originate from Brazil exemplify and exaggerate on middle class aspirations found in Brazil. Made by Semba Comunicacio, it is all about the deception and beauty played out in an Angolan lifestyle magazine. Windeck even won an international Emmy Award for best Telenovela in 2013.
“Angola’s ‘Suitcase Traders.’” BBC News. Accessed April 1, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-41285456.
This interview with a few suitcase traders in Luanda’s markets detail the rough lives of these businesswomen. The traveling they do, the deals that they have to make and how they have to stick their neck out for the advancement of fashion in Angola. I used this source because it shows how the suitcase traders are thinking about their own futures as well as the styles and aspirations of the people who are buying from them.
Since the 1970’s and the Nanas Benz got international attention by driving around in Mercedes Benzs after working in the informal fashion market that they were, suitcase traders became a feasible job opportunity for many women. As Angola leaves its civil war, not many opportunities await people in the country. For this reason, this interview is important. It shows, even for a brief moment that the success and aspirations for a better future is achievable and not just for a small number of people. The BBC made this article to showcase the difficult occupation of suitcase trading. The cost benefit analysis that has to go on to ensure that their customers are getting up to date fashions and styles as well as making sure that they turn a profit. This video also provides information on why many of these women are heading to China instead of other countries because of the cheap price of clothes, even though there is a large language barrier.
Buraka Som Sistema
Chris Klemens. Buraka Som Sistema – Sound of Kuduro, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CkXhtw7UNk.
Chris Klemens. Buraka Som Sistema – Hangover (BaBaBa), 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOMe-8Tf1Y0.
These two sources are songs by Buraka Som Sistema who are the most popular Kuduro artists. In their songs, they talk about the importance of their music and of Kuduro. How it is more than just a song, but a cultural revolution coming out of the civil war. Sound of Kuduro shows images of impoverish Angola and Kuduro dancers in the streets and cuts in between the two. By showing the dance in conjunction with the neighborhoods and other regular people one can see the power that the people hold in the music. Similarly, Hangover shows the vibrancy of Angolan life with club scenes kids and dogs on the beaches, several cars that are modified, twerking, more Kuduro dancing and other people about their day reacting to the camera. From this we can see the freedom and love of life that the Angolese people are striving for and loving.
Kuduro has been used as a political catalyst for the MPLA movement and has united Angola under a single genre making it a very powerful and controversial sound. Buraka Som Sistema made these songs to showcase the Kuduro style and energy that it brings into the population. Not only do they showcase the dance movements and vibrant energy of Angola, there are undertones of community empowerment. If all the people are dancing to a single beat, and wanting to achieve the same levels of peace and prosperity, greater political reform and action for the people will happen. That is why I believe that Kuduro is so special. Buraka Som Sistema is not all from Angola, some members are from the Portuguese house scene. Even though this genre is Angolan, it shares its ideology internationally with its Lusophone partners which furthers my points about shared community creating and taking from cultural elements from Brazil and Portugal.
Chris Klemens. Dj Znobia – Bebe, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLgJxovjPdM.
DJ Znobia is a very influential artist out of Luanda and has produced several other hit Kuduro tracks. On one of his hit songs Bebe he uses autotune and other technology that was very new to Angola at the time showing the mixing of a Kuduro beat sequence, distorted synthetic leads, and an Afrobeat mood to the song. In addition to this, he is one of the artists the exemplifies what it means to be a Kuduro artist and to be self-aware of what he is making.
In one of my main sources, Moorman quotes DJ Znobia saying “I feel like I kill peoples suffering.” (pg 26). This quote refers to how his music has affected people after the peace treaties signed by UNITA in 2002. This time marked an incredible end to the civil war and end of suffering of the Angolan people. With large estimates of hundreds of thousands killed, it is clear that Angolans do not want to forget this event, but do want to but it in their past and move forward. By mass media, Kuduro seemed to be a youth movement that has no cultural implications and is just rude to be rude, but artists like DJ Znobia prove them wrong. That the purpose of the genre is to take away from the violence, celebrate progress and celebrate moving forward as a culture.
Chris Klemens. Cabo Snoop – Prakatatumba (Official Music Video), 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j3Hr3wgLnA.
Chris Klemens. Cabo Snoop – Windeck (Official Music Video), 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJr-3XDx5s.
Cabo Snoop has been the most interesting and useful artist in my research because of the use of digital media references and hip hop fashion in his music videos. Both in Windeck and Prakatatumba there are items like Beats Headphones, high-top sneakers, brightly colored shirts, chains and sagging pants. One interesting aspect of Windeck is the intro where several kids are sitting in front of an apple computer and starts to send the video to all of their friends. This shows the shift to digital sharing rather than pirating CDs or other methods of sharing music. This is important because it highlights my points about how cultural connections with the rest of the Lusophone world is so critical as Angola is developing its own but shared culture. Furthermore, the addition of only Apple products in the video also show how wealth and showing off wealth is a big part of how Angolan culture is taking from Brazil as well as hip hop.
After the first presidential election in 2008, the hopes and dreams of the Angolese people were high. At the same time, Brazil was coming out of the 2008 economic crash which crippled them as it did many other nations. The culture that formed afterwards was of middle class aspirations for peace and economic prosperity moving forward, which is something that Angolans quickly bonded to because of their situation coming out of the Civil war. These hopes of a better future are highlighted by Cabo Snoop with his use of hip hop styles and luxury electronics. Furthermore, the significance of sending the song via the internet to your friends is one of the most powerful elements of the Windeck music video. Highlighted in the work of Marcon, digital transfer of culture is vital when understanding how culture is forming in the Lusophone world. With Kuduro in particular, many of the hit songs are being streamed, downloaded and moved through the internet to other lusophone countries which makes its message and sound that much more powerful. Because the messages and sounds that Kuduro is making are becoming international hits in Portugal and Brazil, the same aspirations can be heard and copied world wide. This is a valuable point in my research because it clearly connects Angola to Brazil with cultural exchange.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week
CGTN America. Design Focus on Foreign Consumers in Sao Paulo Fashion Week, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_CmVyQjpLU.
This video and interview shows the power that Sao Paulo has in the fashion community. Of course Paris and other famous cities are above it in terms of Fashion prestige, but the level at which the designers are trying to out perform their western competitors and succeeding is incredible. An interview with several models show how Sau Paulo is the Latin American gateway to the Fashion community. The fashion brands in Brazil see that it is difficult to breach that next level of wealth and into the larger fashion world. Brands and designers alike see the opportunities that the fashion week brings to them and they want all of the press, they want to show the world that they can compete on a global stage, not just in Brazil. The later half of the video focuses on the brand Osklen and its founder. He says that he has had a difficult time achieving that next level because of the economic difficulties in Brazil. He then goes to say that the brand is getting close to reaching that level of creativity and economic balance so that in the future they may rise to the top.
Sao Paulo Fashion week, and the reason why I chose this video, is to show that this process take time, but we can see by the words of everyone interviewed that their hopes and dreams are high. Just like the suitcase traders that participate in this industry, they hope to become the next best thing. Not only do the designers in Sao Paulo feel this way, they inspire the suitcase traders that see the fashions play out as middle class aspirations in telenovelas such as Windeck. The cultural connections that Sao Paulo fashion brings to Latin America are incredible, being that is it the only fashion capital in the area. Not only does it elevate Lusophone countries with fashion and style it spreads these economic aspirations across those same countries.
“DIVO.” Accessed May 2, 2021. https://www.divo.fashion/
This source is simply to provide context when watching the Telenovela Windeck. Although not an exact replica, the Show Windeck is a soap opera about the scandals, hard work and drama in the Fashion industry. DIVO is a menswear lifestyle magazine, but in the show it is more of a general fashion magazine much like Vogue. This slight change however brings a much more dynamic shift to the way in which luxury, wealth and wealth inequality are perceived.
Even though this is referencing the Windeck telenovela, the importance of a lifestyle fashion magazine is an indicator of wealth in and of itself. To have the money and time to spend looking at and interacting with the fashion community is a middle class aspiration. To want to be something more, to want to fit in, to want to have the latests fashions. These are all indicators of capitalist material expression that has become part of Brazilian culture, especially in the big city of Sao Paulo. Divo magazine shows that people that come from these lusophone countries do have style and a lifestyle that is worth reaching for. In the show Windeck, the struggles and beauties of the cutthroat fashion editorial business of DIVO is a central element of the whole show. Obviously dramaticized to be a soap opera, the passion and effort that the people put into their work at DIVO and the high end brands that they mention clearly indicate the way that Brazilian material culture has affected Angola, both positively and negatively.
BBC Angola Timeline
“Angola Profile – Timeline.” BBC News, March 7, 2018, sec. Africa. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13037271.
This detailed timeline shows the critical political changes in Angola since the Portuguese arrived there hundreds of years ago. The slave trading ports up until current events are all noted. Along with my research, we can see the progression of Angolan freedoms being made thereby somewhat achieving the aspirations of freedom that I have been talking all about.
The reason I include this timeline in addition to the timeline on the first page of this blog is because of the political significance of Angola’s past. In my research I focus on contemporary cultural exchange, which often excludes information about the past. Because my research is new and the topics have been recently developed in the past ten to fifteen years it is hard to say where it will lead to. This timeline of Angola, shows the horrendous struggle of oppression that Angola had to overcome to get to the point where it is at now. I mention the civil war and how Kuduro affiliated with the MPLA but there is always more to be said about how dire of a situation Angola was in for decades. Absolutely no hope for a better future, constant warfare with little to no external help. I tried my best to emphasize that point in my writing but this source helps solidify that point. Furthermore BBC created this timeline like many others they have made to simply showcase political turmoil in an area. Their centrist politics often is used to make unbiased timelines like these to show the back and forth of regimes, turmoils and activism quite effectively. Although it does not go into detail about any specific point on the timeline, it differs from my timeline because it is purely political and houses little to no cultural background especially in the contemporary sense.