feature: brazilian rapper thiago elniño reconnects with his african ancestry through rap

March 4, 2016

Afro-Brazilian religious culture inspired the rapper Thiago Elniño on his videoclip for the song “Diáspora”, produced by Nave and whose video was directed by Fabricio Mangel.

The video was shot at the same house where the rapper had his first encounter with Umbanda—an Afro-Brazilian religion. The place is an old farm within inner Rio de Janeiro State where over two thousand black persons was enslaved in the past. “Diaspora” is the first single from the EP “Filhos De Um Deus Que Dança” (Children of a God Who Dances), also produced by Nave. The EP has a drums base linked to African religiousness and cultures and addresses the recovery of the black identity and its African roots.

In Brazil, having those issues displayed by rap isn’t a common thing, but Elniño thinks it has changed: “Rap scene in Brazil is experiencing a time of unprecedented visibility […] It has emerged lots of black people who wants to be touch with their realities in rap lyrics and others who sees rap as a pedagogical tool. And even not understanding, they realize that MCs actually are a kind of griots (african traditional storytellers) and at least in my case I try to fulfill this role, to rap focusing on black, marginalized people.”

By Robin Batista*, AFROPUNK contributor


*Robin Batista is a Brazilian designer, student in Afro-diasporic Visual Arts and AFROPUNK contributor.