Ipanema beach

‘The Girl from Ipanema’: What has Changed in Rio de Janeiro Nowadays?

RIO DE JANEIRO (IPANEMA) — Brazilian elegance steps out into 1960s Rio de Janeiro, chauffeured in a classic Porsche. The pastel pastiche attracts all kinds of people as a guitar picks the city’s hymn: ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’

There is a new version of the girl from Ipanema. She is the girl from a Brazilian suburb who is revolutionizing the Brazilian music market and has already partnered with international artists such as Madonna, Cardi B, J Balvin, etc.

Who’s the new girl from Ipanema?

The new Ipanema girl does not represent the romantic image of Rio de Janeiro women. The most contemporary version is a young woman who has moved out of the suburbs and has the opportunity to transform her life via music. Allow me to introduce Anitta, the visionary.

‘Let me tell you ’bout a different Rio / The one I’m, but not the one that you know,’ sings Anitta, Brazil’s biggest pop star, over a trap beat. The music video shows her bikini-clad, descending from a bus to an artificial pool beside Rio’s international airport.

It’s the current wave of Bossa Nova, which is still going strong and captivating new followers fifty years after its creation by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. The journey of the girl from Ipanema from Rio to the United States and back demonstrates what persists and what may change when culture transcends borders in the globalization age.

The ‘Girl from Rio’ by Anitta preserves only the melody of the original song.

Her words convey the reality: the city’s women have fuller faces than the thin, white ones Frank Sinatra talked about. This clip offers a barbecue on the beach and discoloured hair as well as slippers and deep kisses, and black stands for the original muse.

The new recording is a long way from Rio’s golden age of fascination, an era when Brazil built Volkswagen Beetles and was on track for its second consecutive World Cup championship.

It was around the early 60s that Rio had just lost its status as a national capital. Still, no one could steal the charming Copacabana and Ipanema beaches that were recognized as a backdrop for the bossa nova music movement — and the locale where Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, a composer and a poet, often saw their muses walking while they sat by a bar’s window.

Who is Anitta?

alt="Anitta Brazilian Singer"
Anitta, a Brazilian singer. Image source: besthqwallpapers

Larissa de Macedo Machado (born in Rio de Janeiro, 30 March 1993) is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, entrepreneur, and TV presenter.

At about seven years old, she began to sing in a Catholic chorus in the district of Honório Gurgel in Rio de Janeiro while taking dance classes and teaching as a dancer. Today, she still uses her expertise to perform even though she has shifted from studio to street.

When she was 16, she took an internship at Vale Mining Company and was offered a position at the company.

Anitta’s mother financed her English courses by becoming a seamstress. Her mother worked night and day to provide her daughter with new opportunities in a city where impoverished people were used to not having the ability to climb the social ladder.

Although she grew up in the suburbs, her life ended up being different from most other women’s because she did not follow the road that others went. While she experienced many financial difficulties, she showed that one may follow one’s aspirations without sacrificing one’s beliefs.

A girl at the Ipanema elite

alt="the old girl from ipanema"
The old girl from Ipanema. Image source: luster magazine

‘The Girl from Ipanema’ is a famous Brazilian song that is popular around the world.

Rio de Janeiro is well-known around the world and is a renowned tourist destination. On days when the weather is nice, you may go to a beautiful beach.

In other instances, you may find yourself attempting to dance the samba, hiking up a mountain to view Christ the Redeemer, seeing the several islands through Guanabara Bay, or hiking in the largest urban forest in the world, National Tijuca Park.

Many people might not be aware that Rio, which has more than six million residents, also has some of the world’s most costly real estate. It’s not surprising at all.

While Latin America ranks fourth in the globe in terms of the number of billionaires, many of these rich people have settled in Rio. Although Brazil ranks sixth in the world in the number of billionaires, it is really a developing country.

At the moment, there are 43 billionaires living in Brazil, with Jorge Paulo Lemann (an investment banker and businessman with dual Brazilian and Swiss citizenship) coming in first with an estimated net worth of US $16.9 billion in 2021.

However, this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 614 American billionaires, including the $195.3 billion net worth of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos. However, in the opinion of Brazilian businesses and investors, these entrepreneurs and investors have no reason to complain. They spend their money on fascinating enterprises worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Although the real estate market in Rio de Janeiro, which is 222 miles across, slowed down in 2016 and 2017, it rebounded towards the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019. Depending on where in Rio you live, the average price per square foot is anything from $2,140 to $4,300.

The listed prices are on par with those in Paris; hence, these two places are considered the most sought-after Latin American real estate markets.

Ipanema – The famed beach area

alt=" Ipanema one of the most expansive places in Rio de Janeiro"
Ipanema beach. Image source: Turista Fulltime

You would have to spend an average of $4,500 per square foot to get an apartment in Ipanema. This well-known beach is visited by hundreds of people each year, and it’s an excellent area to meet and greet.

It is common knowledge that those who can afford expensive real estate choose to own a property in Rio de Janeiro as well as some of the most expensive, high-end luxury hotels and restaurants. You may always meet people at the beach on the cheap by taking a stroll, even with a small budget.

The other side of Ipanema

alt="Cantagalo Slum in Ipanema,Rio de Janeiro"
Cantagalo slum. Image source: Wikipedia

A cluster of shantytowns situated on the city’s border between Ipanema and Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro is known as Cantagalo-Pavão-Pavãozinho.

It is estimated that the population is roughly 5,000. To get a view of the city, you have to be situated on a hilltop near the sea.

Despite being situated in one of the city’s most prosperous areas, the collection of slums has substantial social issues, such as poverty, crime, and drug trafficking.

This neighbourhood has attracted social initiatives whose goals are to reverse the negative conditions.

Non-governmental organizations, including the Integral Solar Meninos de Luz School, have provided learning opportunities for more than 430 children and young people, from preschool to high school, for 29 years.

The Women in Literary Action Project additionally works to empower women of African descent by providing various programs.

Athletes and artists are deeply involved in social activities in the community. The group includes Cirque du Soleil member and film director João Moreira Salles and the famous dancer Ana Botafogo.

João Goulart, the school president, is here as well.

This school offers lessons for the circus, computer science, capoeira, dance, lectures, seminars, and boxing. In addition, police officers employed by the Special Areas Policing Group assist in governing the area.

How does Anitta’s version of ‘Girl From Ipanema’ relate to what is happening in Rio de Janeiro today?

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Favela Rio de Janeiro has the largest population in Brazil. image source: Rio Times Online

Rio de Janeiro is the Brazilian city with the second-most number of people who consider themselves black or mixed race.

At the last census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, there were 3 million (IBGE).

The official Brazilian census figure shows that the city contains 763 slums.

In Rio, 22% of the population live in shantytowns, and the municipality with the biggest number of slum-dwellers in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro, which has a population of 1,393,314.

In the city, 14.4% of the population live in ‘sub-normal colonies’, which the government considers shantytowns.

São Paulo’s favelas also vary from the rest of Brazil.

With an increased population in this sort of urban settlement, which tends to be high-density with over a thousand families, the proliferation of ‘favela complexes’, which are smaller clusters of adjacent sub-normal villages, has become notable. They are not found anywhere else in the nation.

Another characteristic of the favelas of Rio is their proximity to the first and central zones, creating a strong social contrast.

How the police treat socially vulnerable groups

A recent poll has shown that 86% of those murdered in Rio de Janeiro police operations are black.

By using the Network of Public Security Observatory, this research accounted for 2019’s fatalities that occurred as a result of state authorities’ actions.

Over the last year, there have been around 1,800 Rio de Janeiro residents who perished following police involvement. The number of black and brown people made up to 1,400 of these individuals.

Additionally, 159 were colourless. The information in the survey was collected through Brazilian law under the Brazilian Access to Information Act.

According to the 2010 IBGE Census, 51.7% of all people in the state are African American.

The head of the Security Observatory at Candido Mendes University, Silvia Ramos said that RJ’s police tactics are discriminatory. Speaking about fatalities in the African American community, she points out that this is the ‘tip of the iceberg.’

It is tremendously distressing, concerning, and even scary to know that there are so many black individuals who have been slain by the police.

This shows the existence of racism and racialization since we can see that 51% of the population of RJ are black, yet 86% of those slain by the police last year were black. ‘Racist police tactics,’ Silvia said.

There is racial disparity in everything we see. This is known as a ‘stop and frisk’ approach, since most individuals who are stopped are black.

Not only are murders committed, but police action focuses on individuals of colour. When she stated this, the fatalities were only the tip of the iceberg.

Rio de Janeiro: Distorted image

alt=" Police officers during an operation against drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro"
Police officers during an operation against drug traffickers. Image Source: Sahara Reporters

‘The Girl from Ipanema’ was first performed on August 2, 1962, when Rio de Janeiro was renowned as a magnificent city.

In the 1960s, Ipanema was recognized for its musical diversity, vibrant colors, and the hippie movement, despite its sparse population and lack of huge structures.

The wealthy and middle classes were quite visible and were segmented into high-end stores and malls, luxury automobiles, and foreign trips.

The 60s did not see the bulk of Rio’s militias and drug traffickers. The state was not as pervasive, and socioeconomic inequities were not as well documented.

The updated rendition of ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ shows how people who know Rio’s geography really feel.

The city has developed into a hotbed of political corruption.

The original version of the song was critical in establishing Rio de Janeiro’s reputation, but the music’s lyricism did not convey how most residents lived.

That’s why I like Annita’s version. It depicts Rio de Janeiro’s beach on a backdrop of normalcy that is absent from the original song.

I’m not criticizing the song; rather, I’m discussing how the new version is truer in capturing the issues our beautiful city faces.

I was born and raised in the Rio de Janeiro suburbs, and since I was a child, I’ve noticed that several wealthy Rio residents are surrounded by poverty and social exclusion.

Zipcodes for Rio de Janeiro’s favelas were introduced in 2013. Before that, all favela residents were practically excluded, as the post office delivered nothing to them.

Prior to their inclusion on the Brazilian postal map, favela inhabitants had difficulty finding work, and not all favelas had a postal code.

Anitta’s clip does not reflect the current state of affairs in Rio de Janeiro but rather documents the day-to-day problems that people from all walks of life in the city face.

When there are police operations, the police raid the houses of impoverished people who live in favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

Anitta’s video depicted crowded buses and beaches with a diverse population, as well as the fact that women in the favela typically have multiple children.

What she failed to mention is that most kids in the favela are enticed by drug trafficking, and the state of Rio de Janeiro does nothing to prevent this tragic statistic.

My purpose with this article is not to attack or denigrate the original song or its creators.

Perhaps when Rio de Janeiro’s administration begins to lose money on tourism, it will become more concerned about the city’s well-being and less focused on creating a false image of a lovely city.



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