'É para que o quarto de empregada deixe de ser a senzala moderna', diz Preta-Rara sobre livro em que reúne relatos de trabalhadoras domésticas
When young Joyce Fernandes was growing up in Santos, her father was a postman, and her mother was a maid who bought a lot of goods from door-to-door sellers — especially books. Joyce used to trade her own dolls for books. “Ah, this Black girl is rare,” Joyce’s mother would say about her.
When Joyce was a teenager and began to write graffiti, she tagged as “Preta Rara” (Black Rare), so as not to be discovered. “Nothing better than a stage name given by the mother,” she now says with a smile. At that time, Joyce sang in an evangelical church. She was part of a group formed by her mother, father and sister called The Fernandes. In 2005, she started rapping, and today, Preta Rara uses her rhymes to denounce the issues she went through.
Shake the status quo. Everywhere Preta Rara arrives, she looks to create discomfort with her image, her music, and even with the media content that she generates. “It creates change,” she believes. The singer and rapper who is now also a writer, classifies herself as a content producer and claims that she intends to take to all platforms to discuss race, class and gender, as well as to combat fatphobia.
She is about to release the book, Me, Maid: The modern slave is the maid’s room. [It has not yet been translated into English.] The publication features narratives by her grandmother and mother, and by Preta herself, as well as stories that she solicited and received on a Facebook page she created for the project; she received more than 4000 reports.
Brazil has a “maid culture.” It’s very common to find a “maid room” in many apartments and houses. This happens because of a long history of servitude, poor work regulation, and unemployment in the country. These workers are overwhelmingly female, most of them Black and poor. They have long been treated as second-class citizens, not only by employers but also by the law.