The African-Bahian carnival block Ilê Aiyê organised the Night of the Black Beauty.
Ilê Aiyê, one of the most important African carnival blocks of Bahia, is celebrating this year its 38 anniversary. Ilê Aiyê was the first African-Bahian block of Bahia. Its history goes back to November 1, 1974, in Curuzu, region Liberdade, a neighbourhood with the largest black population of the country. The carnival block was born in the Terreiro de Candomblé (Shrine of the Candomblé) of the Gege-Nago Ilê Axé Jitolu nation, led by Mãe Hilda dos Santos.
During the Night of the Black Beauty, the Ebony Goddess was chosen who will parade with the Ilê Aiyê during Carnival with the theme “Negros do Sul – Lá Também Tem” (Negros from the South – They also are there), which highlights the importance of the Negros in the cultural formation of the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The sambist carioca Arlindo Cruz, the baiano singer Dão and the Band’Aiyê entertained the audience.
The event took place on January 28, in Cultural Centre Senzala do Barro Preto (Slave quarters of Barro Preto), the formal headquarters of Ilê Aiyê in the region of Curuzu.
Twelve beautiful black women competed for the title of the Ebony Goddess. They were selected from among 45 candidates who entered the contest. The winner will earn the right to march in the parade during Carnival 2012, and accompany the Ilê Aiyê during its presentations within and outside Brazil throughout the year.
The jury of the contest analysed the braided hair, dress, and especially the grace and nimbleness of the candidates in the African-Bahian dances. With this festival Ilê Aiyê aims not only to reward beauty, but also to strengthen the identity and consciousness of the black women in Bahia.
Edjane Nascimento, a public servant of 27 years, won the contest and became the Ebony Goddess of Ilê Aiyê.
As Ebony Goddess, Edjane will accompany the block Ilê Aiyê, known as ‘the most beautiful of the beautiful’, during the carnival festivities of 2012. After the carnivalesque activities in Salvador, her next stop is Argentina.