I know the title sucks. I intentionally named this blog post that because Eliane Dias, the wife Mano Brown, says in an interview that she never wanted to be known as Mano Brown’s wife.
But now she has accepted it. But that doesn’t mean she is just his wife.
Eliane Dias manages the Racionais MC’s, Brazil’s biggest rap group. Her husband Mano Brown is the most well-known member. In addition to being Brown’s wife and manager, Dias is a lawyer and the mother of his two kids. As the manager of Racionais MC’s for the last four years, she is credited with revitalizing the rap group, which started 27 years ago in São Paulo. She recently gave an in-depth interview to TPM magazine in which she explained how her career evolved from being a live-in maid at the age of 14 to becoming a lawyer in her 30s.
It’s rare that any mainstream magazine features black women, so Eliane Dias’ interview made the rounds on Facebook Negro, Brazil’s version of Black Twitter. I enjoyed reading her frank interview because I learned a lot about Brazilian men. One of my Brazilian friends said that it’s a Brazilian woman in a nutshell–“she deals with machismo in her own special way.”
So below is what I learned about Brazilian men from Eliane Dias.
1. Brazilian men are Machisto.
Dias was asked if the Racionais MC’s (a group of four men) are machisto. In general, machismo is taken to mean that men do certain behaviors just because they are men and feel entitled to do them.
Eles são 50% machistas, mas melhoraram, antes eram 100%. O Brasil é um país machista, então é difícil o homem ter um comportamento diferente.
They (Racionais Mc’s) are 50% machismo, but they have improved, before they were 100%. Brazil is a machisto country and therefore it’s difficult for a man to be different.
2. If they can get away with it, Brazilian men will not pay you what you are worth.
When Dias first started working with the Racionais MC’s, they didn’t pay her anything.
“Não vamos pagar o que o pessoal paga por aí, primeiro você vai ter que provar que é boa”. Olha como eles são, você acredita? Até hoje eles não me pagam o que eu mereço.
“We will not pay what people pay for this. First you have to prove that you are good.” Look at how they are. Can you believe this? Until this day they still have not paid me what I earned.
3. Never ask permission from a Brazilian man. Just do it.
Dias recounts an experience when Mano Brown almost took her to the United States on a tour with him. But then he made her stay home with the kids. When he was gone she took a course at the University of São Paulo. When Brown returned, Dias had resolved to start making her own money.
“Agora vou estudar e ganhar o meu dinheiro pra poder ir aonde eu quiser”.
Now I will study and earn my own money so I can go wherever I want.
4. It takes a woman to pull a Brazilian man out of crime.
When Brown first started rapping, he was still doing petty crime. Dias says she helped him to stop that.
Tirei. O pessoal saía muito pra roubar relógio Rolex. Lembro uma vez que a gente estava indo pro Carioca Club, em Pinheiros, e ele falou: “Eliane, vai indo na frente que daqui a pouco eu te encontro”. Eu falei: “Não vou, não”.
I pulled him out of crime. The people would go out and steal Rolex watches. I remember one time when we were going to Carioca Club in Pinheiros and he said, “Eliane, you go in the front and I’ll meet you in a little bit.” I said: I am not going. No.
5. Open relationships may be the best way to stay with a Brazilian man for 27 years.
Dias doesn’t say that she has an open relationship with Mano Brown, but she does say that fidelity is not the top of her list in a relationship.
Acho que a fidelidade não é o topo da lista de uma relação, ela nunca foi, é utopia.
I think fidelity is not that top of the list in a relationship. It has never been utopia.
6. Open relationships mean that the Brazilian man can step out but the woman… that’s a different story.
A mulher não pode sair, ir na balada, ter um affair com um cara, tomar banho e voltar pra casa.
A woman cannot go out, go to a club, have an affair with a man, take a bath and return to the house.
7. The biggest arguments you will have when with a Brazilian man are money and the kids.
Of course this isn’t a rule. This probably goes for any marriage. But Dias says that her and Mano Brown argue the most over money and the kids.
Ou é por conta de filho ou é por conta de dinheiro. Ele não sabe falar de dinheiro.
We argue about taking care of the kids or about money. He does not know how to talk about money.
8. Given that Brazilian men are machisto, they would rather their women stay home and take care of the kids than go to law school.
When Eliane Dias told her husband that she was going to law school, he tried to convince her to stay home and watch over the kids.
I don’t expect you to take all of this to heart. Men are different everywhere. But Dias did teach me a lot about Brazilian men. Read the rest of the interview here.