Brazilian song compares natural hair to “a scouring pad for pots and pans.”
On the heels of “Stuff White Girls Say…to Black Girls,” by YouTube comedian Francesca Ramsey, which stirred both anger and hilarity as the video went viral, Sony Music has been ordered to pay $1.2 million for a song about natural hair they released in 1997 by Brazilian singer and comedian Tiririca under the assertion that it is racist.
The song, titled “Look at Her Hair (Veja os Cabelos Dela),” compares natural hair to “a scouring pad for pots and pans” and says that it “smells worse than a skunk.”
Ten non-governmental organizations in Brazil, which fight against racism, brought the lawsuit forward. According to the Huffington Post, Humberto Adami, defense attorney of the NGOs, argued that natural haired women were offended, ridiculed and felt violated by the lyrics in the song.
The lawsuit is the largest monetary punishment for racism in Brazil and, according to Adami, the damages will be paid to the Diffused Rights Fund of the Ministry of Justice.
As for Sony Music, a representative stated that the lyrics were not intended to offend anyone and that the song was alluding to Tiririca’s wife. In addition, Sony called upon language differentiations saying that the language used in the song applies to both black and white women in Brazil, whereas in the English it seems to only refer to one race.
As for us, we aren’t so sure that is true. In fact, one lyric in the song states, “This black woman stinks,” which in English or Portuguese seems to be talking about just one race. Besides, if this song was really for his wife, why aren’t we including an “ex” in front of that marital status?
No matter what culture you come from, I’m pretty sure this song is offensive – merely for the fact that it exists at all!
Take a look at the lyrics for yourself:
Veja veja veja veja veja os cabelos dela (4x)(Look look look look look at her hair (4x)
Parece bom-bril*, de ariÃ¡ panela(It looks like a scouring pad for pots and pans)
Parece bom-bril, de ariÃ¡ panela(It looks like a scouring pad for pots and pans)
Quando ela passa, me chama atenÃ§Ã£o(When she goes by, she catches my attention)
Mas os seus cabelos, nÃ£o tem jeito nÃ£o(But her hair just isn't right)
A sua catinga quase me desmaiou(Her stench almost made me faint)
Olha eu nÃ£o aguento, Ã© grande o seu fedor(Look, I can't take it, her smell is so bad)
Veja veja veja veja veja os cabelos dela(Look look look look look at her hair)
Parece bom-bril, de ariÃ¡ panela (2x)(It looks like a scouring pad for pots and pans) (2x)
Eu jÃ¡ mandei, ela se lavar(I told her to take a bath)
Mas ela teimo, e nÃ£o quis me escutar(But she's stubborn and doesn't listen to me)
Essa nega fede, fede de lascar(This black woman stinks, she stinks horribly)
Bicha fedorenta, fede mais que gambÃ¡(Stinking beast, smells worse than a skunk)
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Sound off, curlies: do you think the lawsuit is justified, or do you think it is a hinderance of freedom of speech? Arguments are going both ways down in Brazil.