When a black voice speaks, there is ancestry and struggle contained within it. And this diasporic life-force is present in the performances at the Slams das Minas (“Girl Slams”), poetry slams headlined by women and which have been taking place since 2015 in several locations across Brazil. These spoken word events bring together the strength and wisdom of women on the outskirts of society, making way for black, homosexual and trans bodies – all forcibly ‘othered’.
Incorporations and Evocations
Slam performances evoke the ancestral force of Xangô, an orisha who speaks with his entire body, the ruler of words and speech. And like the Yoruba deity, slammers speak with their whole bodies during their performances: since oppression is rooted in the control and submission of bodies, slammers appropriate words and creative bodily movements, in order to reject the role of second-class citizen in which they are systematically placed.
Born out of written works, slam performances gradually take shape during the performative act itself. They evoke life and ancestral forces, which become truly present through words put into action, as well as through gestural choices and bodily movements.
Although poetic expression is preconceived in the written form, slams make use of resources that extrapolate the literary world, intertwining spoken word poetry, acting, musicality, stage design, clothing and accessories. And there is also participation from the audience, which acts with autonomous bodies and voices, placing themselves as an essential transformative element of this performance art.
Slam das Minas in the performers’ own voices
Carol Dall Farra, Rool Cerqueira and Vic Sales represent countless women who have refused to be silenced once again. These female performers are unanimous in situating the Slams das Minas as spaces of resistance, acceptance and visibility.