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Mano Brown Throws Down

Racionais MC front man Mano Brown threw away the script during the presentation of this year’s Black Heritage Trophy, protesting the current wave of violence in São Paulo state, which he says has disproportionately affected young black men from the urban periphery.

“I wish he were here,” Brown said of Governor Geraldo Alckmin as he received the award together with two other members of the Racionais — Ice Blue e KL Jay — and sharing the stage with singers Carlinhos Brown and Martinho da Vila, who were also receiving awards.

With his customary impassive expression and complete disinterest in treating event organizers — Afrobras and Zumbi dos Palmares University — and fellow recipients with courtesy, Brown called recent statements by Governor Alckmin on the wave of violence that began in October “absurd.” Alckmin had argued that higher murder rates are an artifact of population growth.

Reminding the governor that both cheered for the same team — Santos — an audience member called for “changing teams.” Brown responded that «it is easier to change governors than to change teams.»

The unscheduled political protest embarrassed organizers and especial the dean of Zumbi, José Vicente, who had opened the ceremony alongside the state governor’s justice secretary, Eloisa Arruda, and the president of Febraban, the Brazilian Banking Federation. Vicente had no comment on the incident.

This year’s award ceremony, the ninth, paid homage to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, assassinated 44 years ago, and counted on the attendance on the Reverend’s youngest daughter, missionary Bernice King.

The annual Black Heritage award is sponsored by major Brazilian corporations such as Mercedez and Petrobrás and by banks such as Itaú, Bradesco and Santander.

The face to face between Mano and mayoral candidate Fernando Haddad, below, along with other segments filmed for the Haddad campaign, substantiates the powerful appeal of the hip hop electorate. I will try to subtitle.