I don’t mean to beat a Brazilian Horse, but it looks like our neighbors to the south are at it again. On the heels of an article we shared this week about Globo TV airing a show about a white woman who “becomes” black by painting herself brown and donning an afro wig in order to sleep with a black man, the wonderful blog Black Women in Brazil shared another troubling story about the casting of the Brazilian production of The Lion King.

While producers of the show, O Rei Leão (The Lion King), supposedlyput out a casting call for black and/or brown children to play the lead roles of Simba and Nala, the finalists for the roles are reportedly white children who are artificially tanning their skin to fit the characters’ description.

A Brazilian newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, reports:

The production of the Disney musical O Rei Leão (The Lion King) sought black or brown children to play the protagonists Simba and Nala in the Brazilian edition, which debuts in March. But most of the child actors in the final phase of auditions are white. Two finalists declared to the Folha news column that they are using tanning spray to darken their skin to suit the production. The T4F company, which is assembling the show, says it didn’t recommend the procedure to applicants. In American and English versions of the show, the protagonists are black.

It’s hard to imagine the producers of the show could not find any black or brown children to cast as Simba and Nala considering Brazil has the largest population of African-descended people outside of Nigeria.

But I guess it makes sense. Despite the country’s diversity, darker skinned Brazilians are almost always absent from TV and in the media, so it’s no surprise that the show’s producers would end up casting white actors to play roles traditionally held by actors of color.

Interestingly enough, the blog Black Women of Brazil (BWB) also said a production of The Color Purple was said to be heading to the country, but it’s apparently running into problems. The show, which would need an all-black cast, is having trouble securing funding from investors who are unsure if Brazilian audiences will pay to see an all-black show. Gatas Negras of BWB laments, “I guess that’s just how things go in a “racial democracy,” where race is not allegedly a problem…except when you’re black.

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  • “Brazil has the largest population of African-descended people outside of Nigeria.”

    That is an old historic fact that does not fit anymore with what Brazil is today.
    Facts are: Brazil, during the old days (1000 years ago) when the Portuguese (with help of the british), the french and dutch ruled parts of Brazil, brought between 4-6 million slaves from Africa (also thanks to their black slave traders in Africa). That is an historic fact. Another fact that is being ignored (i’m suprised by blacks in the US who are so obssessed about that slavery topic) many of them were murdered by working hard and millions mixed with other races by time.

    Brazil’s today majority are whites and mixed bi racial and tri-racial brazilians.
    Only in some parts (states in the north east region) the african culture mixed with other cultures (mainly european) was and is still very strong, and the population are overwhelming ixed races.

    We in Brazil aren’t “obssessed” about afro cutlures compare to blacks (most of them have white roots in them but ignore) in the United States, though it a culture of our nation.

    It’s a shame that there are black Brazilians, who are in reality mixed race, copy the nonsense of divide and conquer by using for everything the “black” race if there is a problem.

    “The show, which would need an all-black cast, is having trouble securing funding from investors who are unsure if Brazilian audiences will pay to see an all-black show.”

    I personal care less if it’s a so called (race divide show) all black cast, facts are, with dna tests, most of them aren’t all black at all, that’s a fact. for real black. go to Africa. If security will be a problem, so be it, they, big sponsor do not have to sponsor it and get themself into trouble with all the race divide nonsense imported from fake black and white liberals from the Good OL USA. Yes, we know here in Brazil what they are up to.
    Brazilian audiences love to watch great programs and most programs on tv have all people on the show, brown,light skinned, black, asian, native american, white. They are Brazilians.

    Who cares that they could not find a brown or black kid to perform in the show. Facts are brown (mixed), black, light skin (mixed), asian, native american, white, who has the money today (most of them) will watch and care less what a “black” in the US thinks.

    Brazilians don’t have problems, it’s you, the black peoplein the US who are obssessed with so called “black issues”. Again, those people, majority of those blacks aren’t real black. Travel to Brazil, open your eyes, because you can see it. Btw, they also exist in the USA, but those people are being ignored..worse than in Brazil.

    It’s kinda sad that only so called black magazines only for blacks are interested in this nonsense, but i guess they love it, since Brazil is in the spotlight.

    Greetings from a 100% Brazilian of Norwegian, german, black and portuguese roots..yes I’m a mixed person, like most Brazilians, the majority and proud of it.