‘September Mornings’ Deepens the Afro Diaspora Lens With Afro Brazilian Trans Lead


Last week I began recommending summer reading pics by Afro-Brazilians available in English translations. Let’s add some streaming media to the list of Black voices in Brazil. 

Each month sees the launch of new Brazilian television series online. The choice of which new stories are made available to millions of devices all over the world associates the media platforms with progressive trends, expanding the audience.

Netflix has already included plural characters in series like “Afronta!”, “3%”, and the Hip hop documentary Emicida: It’s all for Yesterday. Amazon Prime Video is making a splash with its first series led by an Afro-Brazilian. 

“September Mornings,” a five-episode series featuring trans actress and singer Liniker, premiered last Friday. 

The series is a very human view of the lives of poor Blacks in São Paulo, maintaining dignity in the throws of economic oppression that defines the Brazilian race/class struggle.

Liniker plays Cassandra, a trans woman who has just discovered that she shares a ten-year-old son with a girlfriend from the past, street vendor Leide (Karine Telles). Cassandra has a waiter boyfriend (Tomás Aquino, from the phenomenal dual-language film “Bacurau“), has just realized her dream of living alone in her studio and loves to sing the classic songs by her favorite icon, Vanusa in the local nightclub – even when the nightclub owner complains that she should sing more contemporary divas.

Liniker de Barros Ferreira Campos known as Liniker is a singer, songwriter, actress and Brazilian visual artist. She specializes in deep, melodic soul music with her band, Liniker and Caramelows. 

From a family of musicians,  Liniker is named after a soccer player, Gary Lineker. She grew up listening to samba and soul. She was intimidated to sing early in life because she was surrounded by professional musicians. Liniker only started to risk singing after starting her theatrical career in her adolescence. Her father was absent and she and her younger brother were raised by her mother.

Unbeknownst to her family at the age of twelve, she was abused by a family acquaintance.

In 2015, she formed her band, Liniker and the Caramelows, and their first album immediately reverberated internationally. At the same time, she joined a theatre school and began nurturing an androgynous visual identity as an artist mixing a turban, skirt, lipstick and mustache in her musical performances. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone Brazil, she talks about how her look grew to emphatically deconstruct the codes attributed to the male sex. She doesn’t define herself as a man or a woman but as an example of a non-binary person. When asked about which pronoun she prefers, Liniker replied that she prefers the feminine pronoun: “I think it’s broader. ‘He’ leaves me very much in the masculine box.

Later, in her career, she declared herself to be a trans woman. 

“September Mornings” (Manhãs de Setembro) aims to show this trans protagonist in a full and holistic way – not only her singing in the club, but making money as a food delivery driver, dealing with life’s mundane difficulties, and initially rejecting her new child. Liniker told a Brazilian newspaper, “ I don’t romanticize motherhood , but I really want to create, to be able to be a mother in a context where my child is supported with love, affection and respect. Let’s see, maybe one day…” 

“September Mornings” drops at a critical time for the world for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and especially anti-trans. The five-episode series should make a great addition to your watch list and deepen the diasporic lens.

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