Raça Magazine and FCB Brasil launch 'Black Characters' digital tool to amplify black voices

David Murphy

As Brazil's Raça Magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary, the publication is launching #VozPreta (‘Black Characters’), with the stated goal of “occupying more spaces against the structural racism that invariably erases and silences black voices and references in our society”.

#VozPreta is a means to amplify the voices of black intellectuals and professionals, covering a wide array of topics, in a country where structural racism is so present.

The tool, created in partnership with FCB Brasil, was developed by FCB Studio and is anchored on Twitter. On average, people use only 33 characters when they tweet, while the platform allows for up to 280 characters. The idea is to leverage that unused space and fill it up, automatically, with black references.

How it works
When someone starts typing a tweet, the tool recognizes the subject of the text and provides a black cultural reference matching that topic and using up the extra space. If the subject is literature, for instance, ‘Black Characters’will identify the keywords and complete the empty space with content from black personalities, related to the topic. The database is based on 25 years of articles published on Raça Magazine, and may be updated with new publications. It is dynamic and allows anyone from the black community to include and suggest new content for use.

Users can access the tool at https://www.vozpreta.com.br/ or, if they download the Chrome extension, use the tool directly on Twitter.

"Racism works by devaluing black narratives, silencing stories that permeate the country's political, social, and cultural foundations, and keeping these stories from being shared in an equalitarian basis,” said Maurício Pestana, one of the foremost representatives and activists of the black community in Brazil. “This doesn't happen for lack of references, but for lack of space in the public opinion. And that's why ‘Black Characters’ becomes even more relevant: we need to increase the visibility and mitigate the erasure that is forced upon the black population. “90 per cent of the CEOs of Brazil's largest companies are white. 84 per cent of the journalists in Brazil's largest newspapers are white. 82.2 per cent of deputies and senators in Brazil are white. While 54 per cent of the Brazilian population is black.”