Brazil’s LGBTQ & Youth Find Solidarity in BATEKOO

When you think of nightlife, a few things might come to mind — loud, fun music, pops of color, glitter, a dark room

Photo: Unsplash/@mango_quan

Photo: Unsplash/@mango_quan

When you think of nightlife, a few things might come to mind — loud, fun music, pops of color, glitter, a dark room. You think about fun times with friends, laughter, and being able to share a few drinks to celebrate. 

For many in the LGBTQ+ community and specifically in Brazil, that’s rarely the case.

Brazil is one of the most dangerous places for LGBTQ+ youth. As the documentary states, every 19 hours someone within the identified group is murdered. Living as a part of this community, especially as a person of color, can be life-threatening, and the constant threat is persistent throughout every aspect of their lives.

 BATEKOO is the third installation of Red Bull Music’s Inspire the Night series, this time focusing on Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community, creating a safe space for marginalized youth — particularly POC LGBTQ+ youth, to enjoy dancing, music, and nightlife in a safe and inclusive space created specifically for them. BATEKOO is more than a nightlife movement — it is a celebration of diversity, inclusion, culture, representation, and safety. BATEKOO co-founders Wesley Miranda and Maurício Sacramento explain how and why BATEKOO was founded,  including why they felt the need to create an inclusive space. The documentary also follows a few members of the community and how they found BATEKOO, and what  BATEKOO is doing to transform Brazil’s political culture.

 BATEKOOshows a new face of activists, sharing their struggles living day-to-day in Brazil. Originally starting in Salvador, BATEKOOhas now expanded to Rio De Janiero and São Paulo. BATEKOO has one simple mission — to create a truly inclusive nightlife space for Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community, specifically for who are part of brown and black communities and of all socioeconomic backgrounds. BATEKOO aims to be more than just a party — it is a positive movement and space carved out for the most marginalized. BATEKOO showcases a collective of individuals, each of whom deals with their own struggles in Brazil.

The documentary explores the stories of a few members of BATEKOO, including MC Soffia, a rapper who focuses on the female struggle, social issues, and particularly the struggles black women face every day (check out a short interview with her below, and watch the full documentary at the link below).

How did you get involved with the project?

A: I’ve just heard from some people that BATEKOO was really cool, but, as I’m underage, I couldn’t get in there. One day, they did a party during the afternoon, then I could be there, feel the energy and was very nice!

What does it feel like being a part of this community?

A: As I’m underage, it is not possible to be very close from them, because their parties are usually at night. At the same time, their struggle is the same as mine, so I’ve created a lot of empathy with the crew.

What was it like for you as an artist before finding this accepting place for you and your work?

A: It was a bit easy, actually. As my songs were always about social acceptance, I could reach the black girls I wanted and found my place in the music scene.

What do you usually rap about? Is the struggle you feel as a young black artist in a culture that looks down upon that type of work and art a common theme in your writing?

A: As a black young rapper, I needed to find my space for struggle and resistance, and this came through my lyrics. I sing about the young black girl to accept her curly hair and her personal characteristics and also about sensitive issues as genderless games and plays for boys and girls — they have to play with they want. I also talk about being a young girl in society, the female struggle and social issues.

What would you say to any young members of the LGBTQ+ community who are feeling alone right now, and could use a place like this for their own expression?

A: I just want to say: love and like yourselves, accept yourselves the way you are and fight for your space to be able to make your dreams come true!

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Afro Latinx brazil diversity lgbtq
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