Starting later this week, the Olympics will dominate headlines and television networks with a with a utopian vision of the world coming together through athletics. The official Rio 2016 manifesto reinforces this message: “Respecting one another, what is different, alternative — celebrating what is new.”
It’s a worthy goal, but it it rings slightly hollow when considering the acute realities of life in Brazil today. The South American nation is currently experiencing the worst economic recession since the 1930s, the mosquito-borne zika virus has infected an estimated 1.5 million Brazilians, and the country’s president is currently suspended and awaiting trial for impeachment. When a third of Brazil’s rural population have no access to safe drinking water, flashy developments such as a Rio subway expansion have many of the country’s residents feeling like their needs are being ignored.
As we’ll explore this week, the county’s youth are understandably disillusioned by their nation spending $ 4.6 billion on the Games when such acute realities exist in their everyday life. We’ll look at emerging music and cultural scenes in Brazil, share the voices of Brazilian women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, and those harnessing the power of the internet to establish new creative communities. Stay tuned.