“We’re not created equal, we have different roles in life.” – 2013 Documentary, “Frustrated: Black Men in Brazil”

I recently ran across a documentary on YouTube called “Frustrated: Black Men in Brazil” which was directed by Al Greeze. He was inspired to make this documentary after reading a 2006 Essence article by Spelman College Professor, William Jelani Cobb who stated that due to Black men’s frustration with Black women in America, they turn to Brazilian women to obtain the sexual relationships they desire.

Opening up in the documentary is commentary by both Black women and men who provide their perceptions of their relationships with one another. Black women are most likely to be the bread winners, achieve college degrees and be the head of the house hold. The men in the documentary express an issue with this which in turn makes them feel as if their counterpart’s success excludes and belittles them.

We then are taken to Black men who are currently or have visited Brazil many times, expressing with ease the women they have found that “make them feel like a man.”

“Black women would hold their heads down if they came down here….they have nothing on these chicks down here.” One man said. I kept hearing how they were pleased with the attention they were receiving from Brazilian women and how they did not have to “buy their relationships and that Black women in America can learn how to treat a man.”

Although most of the men in the documentary have disagreed with the article, they did not indicate no other reasons than “sunshine and good times” as to why they visited Brazil. Claiming that the article is racially motivated, that it was written to discredit the Black man, I can’t help but to wonder if they don’t realize their reasons for visiting Brazil are racially motivated, discrediting Black women.

We then are taken to commentary regarding the need for family unity. This all to say that money should not be Black women’s main concern, emphasis on education should be pressed on Black boys, and that regardless of the occupation a Black man may have,  Black women should be thankful that they have a husband and a father to their children.

What I can say to this documentary is that because of the imbalanced levels of achievement between Black women and Black men, the urge for domestic partnership is only because of Black women’s success. Because Black women are achieving in a sense more than their counterparts, does not take away THEIR desire to build a home, but it brings focus to what contributions a Black man can provide other than his presence.

Why should a Black woman be faulted for being smart, driven, and knowing what she wants? And why is that if she desires the finer things in life, a partner of her caliber, she is labeled materialistic, but it does not apply to a non-Black woman who wants the same thing? Clearly money does not grow own trees for these men to party in Brazil.

The question is, are these Black men running from their internal issues with Black women, stereotyping and blaming them to have a reason to not address them?

I was baffled at some of the commentary. Instead of praising Black women for achieving educational and economic success (and also those that maintain the household independently), all I heard were complaints. I then wondered if these men would be complaining if the tables were turned. American society is patriarchal, but on a smaller scale it does not always apply to a Black household. This is what appears to trouble some Black men or at least these men in the documentary. If we are not “placing a cup on the table in front of you, unwrapping your straw and putting it in the cup for you,” we obviously “got it twisted.”

This only shows that they do not think of women as their equals, who should obtain success and functionality in the world outside their home. Instead, they were pressed for more of a “caring” woman but none of these men indicated that they have found a stable relationship outside of Black America.

If a successful Black woman wants a successful Black man, then we are obsessed with material things and money. But if we were to date someone who is not of our caliber, then we do not value ourselves. How do we win when the stigma about Black women have a double edged sword?

As open as I can possibly be, I think it’s totally fine to venture out, see the world and meet people of different cultures. I think both men AND WOMEN should do so. But if your reason is because Black women is successful and wants a man that is the same, then they are not the problem, YOU ARE.

I think what these men have displayed is insecurity and male privilege. Because they are men, they have the need to validate their manhood by being around women who they believe (but probably won’t admit) are more subservient and honestly feel it is their right. And maybe even sinking down to the deeper issue is that maybe they don’t want to be reminded of their Blackness and the issues that come with it. But how can they say that Black families need a home, when they are not present to help build it?

A relationship is a partnership. A partnership contains TWO equals. With both being equal, you inspire each other, you can be each other’s competitor in a healthy way, and create an entity, a legacy for those succeeding to inherit. But you have to find that worth within you, no one else can do that for you. No one should have to, man or woman. Be inspired but not enabled.

I wished the documentary focused more so on the Black women’s feelings of the matter to create a more balanced documentary, but maybe there will be part 2.

Blame it on Rio part 2? Black women leave the country to find their match?


Check out the documentary below and let me know what you think!! Also check out this old but very well put commentary actress Lisa Raye had to say about Black women and their desire for an equal. Last but not least, check out the blog or listen to audio interview with Professor William Jelani Cobb, author of the article “Blame it on Rio.”

Check out Lisa Ray at 3:22