Naomi Campbell to Help Liberatum Brazil Celebrate Black Excellence

As part of its mission to empower communities in different parts of the world to foster greater diversity, equality and acceptance, Liberatum will be staging an event in Brazil to celebrate Black Changemakers and Black Visionaries, with Naomi Campbell as a headliner.

Open to all at no cost, the three-day multicultural festival will run Nov. 3 to 5 in Salvador, Bahia. Upward of 40,000 people are expected at the festivities, with the majority of attendees expected to turn up at a humanitarian concert. Liberatum Brazil will have elements of special programming, fashion installations, cinema, architecture and fashion photography.

Another major attraction will be the Brazilian singer Alcione, who will be honored with the Liberatum Cultural Honor Award at the opening gala. Performer Debbie Harry, Oscar winner Lee Daniels, Brazilian actress TaísAraújo, artist Kehinde Wiley and Brazilian actor and filmmaker Lázaro Ramos are also expected at Liberatum Brazil.

Liberatum, a global multimedia company, specializes in creating content for festivals, summits and collaborations. Reached in Bali Wednesday, founder and artistic director Pablo Ganguli said holding an event in Brazil has been “a lifelong dream” and one that has only intensified due to the country’s current political climate.

In addition to drawing attention to Black creatives in Brazil, organizers aim to raise awareness about the disproportionate rate of crime that members of the Black community are facing. In 2017, the number of Black individuals who were killed was nearly triple the number of non-Black people who were killed, according to Brazil’s Violence Map, an annual study that is conducted by the Institute for Applied Economic Research and the Brazilian Forum for Public Safety.

Liberatum Brazil is designed to connect creatives with their Brazilian counterparts, especially their Afro-Brazilian counterparts. The location is intentional. Bahia is the country’s state with the most residents who are of African descent; more than 80 percent of the population in the capital city of Salvador is of an African background.

Campbell collaborated with Liberatum for a 2018 multicultural festival in New Delhi, which featured former President Barack Obama among other notables. The idea of bringing together world leaders like Obama and Campbell, “who singlehandedly [have] done so much work to change the face of diversity in fashion,” made perfect sense to Ganguli. “She is seen as a sign of hope and inspiration for the fashion community in Brazil. To have this for a primarily Black audience in Brazil is very exciting for us.”

The key reason for shining a light on Brazil is to showcase Black and brown Brazilian artists and designers “who have never been given solid representation in the media or really celebrated,” Ganguli said. Campbell will take part in a discussion with Hisan Silva and Pedro Batalha, the creators of the brand Dendezeiro. Their work will be among the designer creations that will be showcased at Liberatum Brazil. Other creatives like the model Alton Mason will also be saluting Black excellence in fashion.

Having artists and fashion woven together into its events has always been part of the equation for Liberatum. Other fashion forces who have hooked up with Liberatum in the past for different events include Kim Jones, Vivienne Westwood, André Leon Talley and milliner Stephen Jones.

“My partner who I am going to marry is Afro-Brazilian. One thing that shocks me, and us as a cultural organization that has always been neutral and diplomatic — there are times when you want to take a stand and say rather publicly that you don’t agree with this particular fight,” Ganguli said. “In the last few years under a particular head of state, things just deteriorated. So to host an event like this further strengthens the Afro-Brazilian identity, builds confidence and morale, and gives people hope. It’s an event that lets them speak with their voices and it lets them know their contributions are valued, respected and admired.”

This marks the first time the company has an organized an event that is focused on race, Ganguli said. “To do an event that makes the statement that Black cultural artists’, fashion designers’ and artists’ contributions are very much respected is the message that we want to send.”

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