This week, we're excited to bring you something unique from our friends at Compass Collaborations in São Paulo, Brazil.  Compass is a language learning school founded by Adriana Alves.  With it she gets to "explore this idea I have of connecting movements, bringing similar struggles in different parts of the world together." This translation is the perfect example of the sorts of cross-cultural collaborations she engages in. The song Negro Drama is by Racionais MC's, a legendary hip hop group from São Paulo. The author of this translation is Jacqueline Siqueira, a student at Compass Collaborations. She created both the text, and also, subtitled in English a reading of these lyrics by famed Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge.


Forrest Gump is “full of grass” /  Forrest Gump é mato

The ingenuous overachiever storyteller who got medals and badges of honor could only be depicted as a white man. That's for sure! Overcoming the attempts of getting killed by the state ain't a sport, it's a daily struggle for survival. No person of color can run that free in the west. That's not only a story but History itself.

The pandemic made 'terms and conditions' of capitalism more evident. Even though despair never fails in paying us a visit, we utopians always think of the present as the time to act. I, Adriana, work as an English tutor in Brazil, and I knew at least one of my students - Jacqueline, who's both a creative social media manager and a talented makeup artist and, self-employed like me - wouldn't be able to pay for her classes much longer. I suggested we'd barter my English lessons for her talents in social media on my pages.

We've been doing this for maybe 2 months now, and I admit it's not a flawless system and we do have to make adjustments along the way. But, neither is capitalism, and just like we're pushed to learn how to survive in it, we can unlearn it and make some room for living, with other alternatives. Though this is not free from fault, I'm amazed with how well it's turning out: the first thing Jackie offered herself to do was translating this song you're about to check. So, enough from  me. Let's hear it from her.


Original

Negro drama, entre o sucesso e a lama

Dinheiro, problemas, invejas, luxo, fama

Negro drama, cabelo crespo e a pele escura

A ferida, a chaga, à procura da cura

Negro drama, tenta ver e não vê nada

A não ser uma estrela, longe, meio ofuscada

Sente o drama, do preço, da cobrança

No amor, no ódio, a insana vingança

Negro drama, eu sei quem trama e quem tá comigo

O trauma que eu carrego pra não ser mais um preto fudido

O drama da cadeia e favela

Túmulo, sangue, sirene, choros e velas

Passageiro do Brasil, São Paulo, agonia

Que sobrevivem em meio às ordens ecovardias

Periferias, vielas e cortiços

Você deve tá pensando: O que você tem a ver com isso?

Desde o início por ouro e prata

Olha quem morre irmão, então veja você quem mata

Recebe o mérito, a farda que pratica o mal

Me ver pobre, preso ou morto já é cultural

Registros, historias, escritos

Não é conto, nem fábula, lendas ou mitos

Não foi sempre dito que preto não tem vez?

Então, olha o castelo irmão e não foi você quem fez, cuzão

Eu sou irmão dos meus truta de batalha

Eu era a carne, agora sou a própria navalha

Tin-tin, um brinde pra mim

Sou exemplo de vitórias,trajetos e glórias

O dinheiro tira um homem da miséria

Mas não pode arrancar de dentro dele a favela

São poucos que entram em campo pra vencer

A alma guarda o que a mente tenta esquecer

Eu Olho pra trás, vejo a estrada que eu trilhei, mó cota

Quem teve lado a lado e quem só ficou na bota

Entre as frases, fases e várias etapas

Do quem é quem, dos mano e das mina fraca

Negro drama de estilo

Pra ser e se for, tem que ser, se temer é milho

Entre o gatilho e a tempestade

Sempre a provar que és um homem e não um covarde

Que Deus lhe guarde pois eu sei que ele não é neutro

Ele Vigia os rico, mas ama os que vem do gueto

Eu visto preto por dentro e por fora

Guerreiro, poeta, entre o tempo e a memória

Ora, nessa estrada vejo dólar e vários quilates

Falo pro mano que nãomorra e também não mate

O tic-tac não espera, veja o ponteiro

Essa estrada é venenosa e cheia de morteiro

Pesadelo é um elogio

Pra quem vive na guerra, a paz nunca existiu

Num clima quente, a minha gente sua frio

Vi um pretinho, seu caderno era um fuzil

Negro Drama

Translation

Negro drama, between success and mess*

Money, problems, envy, luxury, fame

Negro drama, curly hair and dark skin

The wound, the fever looking for relief

Negro drama, tryin' to see and seein' nothing

But a star, far away, poorly shining

Feel the drama, the price, the weight

Of love, of hate, of insanerevenge

Negro drama, I know who plots and who’s with me

The trauma I carry shows me how to handle

The drama of jail and slum

Grave, blood, siren, tears and candles

A passenger of Brazil, São Paulo, agony

Who survives amidst command and cowardice

Periphery, alleys and projects

You must be thinking what do you have to do with it?

Since the beginning for gold and silver

Look who dies, brother, so who's the killer

Receives the merit, the uniform that harms

Seeing myself poor, imprisoned or dead isn't hard

Records, stories, writings

It ain't a fable, a tale, legend or myth

Haven’t they always said that black lives have no turn?

We built this castle, worm, who are you to burn?

I’m a brother of my battle companions

Once I was flesh, now I’m the razor itself

Cheers, cheers, a toast to me

An example of victories, paths and glories myself

Money takes a man out of misery

But can't take the hood from inside him

Only a few enter the field to win

The soul keeps what the mind tries to trim

I look back and, I see the road I walked for a long time

Who stood shoulder to shoulder and who always hid behind

Between phrases, phases and many stages

Of who’s who, brothers and sisters faking

Negro drama with swagger

Rep it off top, 'cuz if you corny you get popped

Between a trigger and a storm

Always 10 toes down, so you know I don’t drop

May God bless you 'cuz he ain’t a neutral fella

He watches the rich, but loves the ghettos dwellers

I wear black inside and out

A warrior, a poet; time and memory throughout

Well, on this road I see dollars and many carats

I say to my brother‘don’t get killed and don’t kill nobody’

Tic-tac don’t stop, check the hands of the clock

This road is poisonous and full of mortars

Nightmare is more like a wish

For those who live in war there was never peace

In warm weather my people feel chills

I saw a black boy, his notebook was a piece

Negro drama