Ile-Aiye - A Symbol of Black Pride
Ile-Aiye is a trademark of Black culture and the oldest bloco afro in the state of Bahia. Someone once said that if you never visit the African continent, Salvador, Bahia is the next best thing. With its large black population and vibrant displays of African culture, the city has become a major tourist destination, particularly for those interested in aspects of the African Diaspora.
The president of Ile Aiye, Antônio Carlos dos Santos better known as Vovô (pictured center of photo) received (Nov 2014) the homage for Ile-Aiye's 40th birthday, from former Bahia governor Jaques Wagner and local authorities. Vovô says the state came to open the door to Movimento Negro (black movement). “We are very proud to be black and to see a greater participation of black people in power during this government,” he said. “We always remember Mãe Hilda (Mother Hilda), who inaugurated this important nucleus of social work.
Congratulations to Ile Aiye, for promoting the culture of Bahia and Africa to the world,” said the governor, the state appreciates the work accomplished by the entity: “we're always together, helping Ile Aiye to shine even more.” For 42 years the musical group and social organization Ile-Aiye has played a major role in the development of Salvador’s image the development of black consciousness in the region.
Ilê Aiye was a milestone in the creation of all blocos afros of Brazil. Beyond baianidade (Bahian-ness) and brasilidade (Brazilianness), Ile Aiye is a reference of resistance, tradition, and religion, not only in Bahia but the entire country as a whole. The minister of the Secretaria da Promoção da Igualdade Racial (Secretary of the Promotion of Racial Equality), Luiza Bairros, emphasized that Ile Aiye was responsible for the Africanization of Carnaval in the state of Bahia.
Ilê contributed not only to Bahia but to Brazil, incentivizing the pride of being black and inspiring the creation of various struggles against racism in the country.
Perhaps the most exhilarating excursion that we participate in during Salvador Carnival is the annual walk with the entire Ile Aiye family on Samba night from Ile Aiye's Samba school in Liberdade to Campo Grande, the first Friday of Carnival.