BBC- A samba group which highlighted prejudices against Afro-Brazilian religions has been crowned as the champion of this year’s hotly-contested carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro.
The Grande Rio Samba School won its first title with a song, costume and floats that paid tribute to Exú, a god revered by many African cultures.
Afro-Brazilian religions have come under attack from Evangelical Churches, which mistakenly label Afro-Brazilian deities as demons.
Grande Rio, which is based in the poor neighbourhood of Duque de Caixas, said it wanted to show a more positive side of Afro-Brazilian religions.
“We conceived our parade as a defence of our beliefs against religious racism and the demonisation of Exú,” Grande Rio’s creative director said.
The parade was cancelled last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and this year’s event should have taken place during the carnival in February.
But it was delayed due to the impact of a new variant of the coronavirus that spread across Brazil earlier this year.
Twelve samba schools, representing different communities of the city, compete every year at the Rio’s Sambadrome parade ground for the top prize.
Grande Rio had come close to clinching the title in 2020, when it was awarded the same number of points as the Viradouro samba school, but was beaten by the latter in the tie-breaker.