By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the theme “History for Lulling Adults”, one of the Rio’s oldest and most traditional samba schools, Estação Primeira de Mangueira, won this year’s samba parade competition. The school told the history of Brazil from the perspective of the popular, unsung heroes, including murdered councilwoman, Marielle Franco.
“The Carnival has always been an expression of struggle; to speak out about what everyone wanted to talk about. And to show to this Brazil that they (are also part of this story,” said Danilo Firmino, one of the composers of the winning samba song, to journalists after the announcement.
Mangueira received the maximum ten points in each of the categories which included theme song, band, floats and costumes.
Unidos de Viradouro came in second with a parade that depicted fairy tales told to children by grandmothers and grandfathers. The school returned to the Special Group this year after spending three years in the Access Group.
Franco, along with her driver, Anderson Gomes, were gunned down in March of 2018 in the center of Rio. The assassination of the activist, who fought for the rights of women, LGBT and those who live in favela communities, has yet to be resolved.
The thrill of the victory was only diminished by the sadness in two other traditional samba schools, Imperatriz Leopoldinense and Imperio Serrano, which received the lowest number of points and were demoted to the Access Group for the 2020 Carnival parade.
The winner this year in the Access Group, another big school, Estacio de Sá, won the right to parade in next year’s Special Group.