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This essentially is the message of the Brazilian pop hit âShow das Poderosasâ (âShow of the Powerful womenâ) by Rio de Janeiro singerÂ Anitta, which has become a national sensation and is nearing 40 million views on Youtube.
AnittaÂ and her song have become one of those unavoidable pop sensations â mainly thanks to the internet, where her career has exploded.Â She started out singing funk carioca, sometimes known abroad as baile funk,Â Â the homegrown hip hop dance sound from Rio favelas, but her style has evolved into a more international pop-meets-R&B sound. If it wasnât in Portuguese, âShow das Poderosasâ could be by any modern American R&B starlet, from Kei$ha to Rihanna.
Add to this the hair-tossing dance routines and the glossy videos â one of which, for âMeiga e Abusadaâ (which you could very loosely translate as âSweet and Pushyâ), was filmed in Las Vegas with American director Blake Farber – and it is easy to see why she is being called Brazilâs new BeyoncĂ©: the strong, glamorous singer who knows how to dance in stilettos.
AnittaÂ also wrote âShow das Poderosasâ, and it has clearly hit a nerve in Brazil.Â Poderosa, or powerful, can be used as a compliment for a woman who is looking glamorous, in control, confident â it is the sort of compliment women might pay each other. You could align it with the sort of sentiments BeyoncĂ©âs group Destinyâs Child sang about in hits like âIndependent Womenâ and âBootyliciousâ
âAll powerful is a woman who doesnât need to be beautiful, but she has so much attitude that she is marvelous, she is powerful,âÂ AnittaÂ told presenter Sabrina Sato on the television comedy show PĂąnico in May. âWhat I try to pass on in my work for everyone is that we can be who we want.â
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Or as DJ and producer ZĂ© Colmeia noted in a report for TV Folha recently: âThese are lyrics that women want to sing. Thatâs the secret of her success.â
The song has been so successful thatÂ AnittaÂ had to rush-release an album to cash in â and that, too, has been a huge success. Now she is being interviewed everywhere, as Brazilian media rush to catch up with a phenomenon that seems to have taken it by surprise.
TV Folhaâs report hadÂ AnittaÂ explaining her âfunk lightâ sound, and a young woman outside an upmarket nightclub observing that âfunk lightâ was more palatable for an upper class crowd.
Rio newspaper O Globo featured her in a recent culture section, and brought us the revelation that there had been a certain amount of fabrication not just in the creation ofÂ Anittaâs career, but in the shape of her âsharperâ nose.
O Globo did not explicitly mentionÂ Anittaâs preposterous breasts or suggest there was any fabrication involved in them, it just demurely suggested that when she was plain old Larissa de Macedo Machado, her body was âless exuberantâ.
The paper did explain her route to success via homemade Youtube videos that led to her being signed by a smart producer and then a smart manager, and linked her to a long line of manufactured Brazilian pop starlets going back decades. But it couldn’t really find anything else either to say about her – or indeed for her to say.
This is the problem with a pop phenomenon likeÂ AnittaÂ â she is too hard to pin down. So media â and I include this blog in here â instead runs around trying to explain her appeal or fit her into some wider social context.Â It would seem that there is something aspirational going on here that Brazilian women identity with. Beyond that, it is difficult to conclude much beyond observing that aÂ star on the scale ofÂ AnittaÂ isÂ a blank canvas onto which fans can paint their own fantasies â and that works as much for the media as it does for her public. She is whatever you want her to be.
AnittaÂ was demure and respectful on the morning television show Mais VocĂȘ (More You) in early June. The show is something of an institution in Brazil and is hosted by Ana Maria Braga and an unspeakably irritating green parrot puppet sidekick, which on this occasion was wearing a tartan baseball cap.
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In this coffee morning interview,Â AnittaÂ explained how ambitious she was as a teenager singing in church in a Rio suburb. âI wanted to be there shining. It was always a very big dream. But my family was poor,â she said.
Before fame hit,Â AnittaÂ had even been an intern at the minerals conglomerate Vale â one of five vacancies that 5,000 had applied for, she said. She had to work for a month just to buy the clothes she would need for the job, she told Mais VocĂȘ.
One had the sensation thatÂ AnittaÂ could have been just as successful at Vale as she has been in pop music, should she have wanted to. Her ambition crackles in every interview she does. She is clearly both very confident and very bright. She even sings in English â as can be seen on these two Youtube clips, where she sings âCanât Take My Eyes Of Youâ and the Destinyâs Child hit âSurvivorâ.
And just as she was girl next door for Mais VocĂȘ, she was risquĂ© a month earlier with presenter Sabrina Sato â who herself is a sex symbol, a comedienne, and a catch-all celebrity rarely out of the media.Â AnittaÂ knows how to be the girl next door one minute, and the object of unattainable desire or aspiration the next.Â Sabrina askedÂ AnittaÂ if she had found love yet.Â âIâm on the way. Iâm just doing some fidelity tests,âÂ AnittaÂ laughed. So you are getting off with someone, Sato asked? âWe are always getting off with someone! Itâs impossible, not to get off with anyone.â
The two women let rip with huge dirty laughs. This was more like it.
Are men scared of her, Sabrina asked? âA lot! It isnât for a woman to take the place of men, treat a man like shit. But for her not to be submissive,â she said.
It is the simplest messages that are the most powerful, especially when it comes to pop music.