Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê follows three women competing to be the carnival queen of Ilê Aiyê, a prominent and controversial Afro-Brazilian group with an all-black membership. The selection is based on Afro-centric notions of beauty, in counterpoint to prevailing standards of beauty in Brazil, a country famous for slim supermodels and plastic surgery. Contestants for the title of Ebony Goddess dress in flowing African-style garments, gracefully performing traditional Afro-Brazilian dances to songs praising the beauty of black women.
Following the three candidates’ daily lives, dance rehearsals, and interactions with each other, the film shows the contest’s role in reshaping the idea of beauty in a society in which African descendants constitute the majority of the population but is pervaded by Euro-centric concepts of body esthetics. The concept of the Ebony Goddess creates an alternative view of the black female body as beautiful, desirable, and talented, promoting social change at its most basic level: the individual sense of self.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Carolina Moraes-Liu is an award-winning producer who has worked on documentaries and television shows for over 10 years. She is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where she has served as a judge for the Emmy Awards. Carolina was born in Bahia, Brazil.