President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) stated this Friday, 2, that “people of African descent like the beat of a drum”. The statement was made during a ceremony at the Volkswagen factory, in São Bernardo do Campo, in ABC Paulista, in São Paulo.
At the time of his speech, the president was speaking about new investments in education and qualifications for the young population. To exemplify the theme, he called to his side a young black woman who was watching the ceremony from the stage. Lula said that, when he initially saw her, he didn’t know if the young woman was a “singer”, “someone’s girlfriend” or even a “percussionist”, because, according to him, “a person of African descent likes to beat a drum”. But he concluded by stating that she was none of those things, but rather a highlight of the event: “the most important apprentice of this company”, said Lula.
O Estadão sought contact with the Secretariat of Social Communication, the Palácio do Planalto and the Ministry of Racial Equality to pass on the declaration, but received no response until the text was published. The space remains available.
This pretty girl is here. I was asking: what is this girl doing sitting there, I haven’t heard anyone say her name? I said: ‘She’s a singer, she’s going to sing’. So I asked (and they replied): ‘No, it won’t have music’. Then she will drum something. Because an Afro-descendant likes the beat of a drum. It’s not either. Then I said: ‘Wow, so she’s someone’s girlfriend.” Neither is she. What is this girl? This girl was awarded next year as the most important apprentice in this company and won an award in Germany. That’s what we we want to do for the people in this country
In fact, Luiza Eduarda Leôncio, 20 years old, is not a singer, nor was she at the ceremony because she was “someone’s girlfriend”. She is a Volkswagen specialist operator and was awarded the 2023 Apprentice Award, an honor given to the company’s best apprentice.
The young woman studies Instrumentation, Automation and Robotics Engineering at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC). With the award, Luiza was awarded a cultural exchange to Germany and will be Brazil’s representative at a Volkswagen conference to be held in the city of Wolfsburg.
After an interlude in which he spoke about the new scholarship to stay in high school, Lula returned to talking about the young woman and said that, when he saw her, he wondered if she wanted to date him. “She doesn’t want to, because she has better things on the market,” said the president. “And she doesn’t want to because I already have Janja too”, he added.
In July 2023, Lula visited Cape Verde and, alongside the country’s president, expressed “deep gratitude to the African continent for everything that was produced during 350 years of slavery” in Brazil. The declaration led to a reinforcement in the team that prepares the president’s speeches and mobilized the Ministry of Racial Equality, a department headed by Silvio Almeida, one of the greatest authorities in studies on racism in the country.
Almeida came to the president’s defense. According to the minister, Lula wanted to state that Brazil has a debt to Africa. “What President Lula said was: ‘Brazil has a debt to Africa and it has to be paid’. And that’s why the president has insisted – and I’ve already spoken to him about this – is that the human rights agenda with Africa involves the so-called right to development”, argued the minister to Estadão column.