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Kiratiana Freelon on becoming a foreign correspondent

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The author, Kiratiana Freelon

The author, Kiratiana Freelon

Courtesy: Kiratiana Freelon

Courtesy: Kiratiana Freelon

The author, Kiratiana Freelon

Kiratiana Freelon

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I first visited Brazil in 2003 on a year-long backpacking trip that focused on destinations in the African Diaspora. I spent five months traveling the country, exploring any and everything related to Afro-Brazilian culture and history—Carnival’s Afro-Blocos, the Candomblé religion, slavery—to name a few. By the time I returned to Rio de Janeiro in 2015 to work and live full-time, Brazil was no longer just a cultural playground for me. It was a country full of political, social and economic stories that I wanted to share with the world, especially to black Americans.

I chose to launch my career as an international correspondent in Brazil because I wanted to report about black people and I love the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The country was just one year from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so the demand for stories from the country was high. It made the transition into freelancing relatively easy.

In a country like Brazil, where people are open and inviting, the most difficult part about being a foreign correspondent is learning the language and acquiring the background knowledge to understand what is going on. For my first six months, I did a lot of free work for a non-profit, and this helped immensely. Two years in I feel like I can report on whatever subject interests me. In the last two years I have written about police violence against blacks, Olympic-related evictions and even dating among Afro-Brazilians. My goal is to create strong relationships between African-Americans and Afro-Brazilians. Journalism is just one of several ways to do this. Before I leave in 2018, I hope to publish a travel and culture guide to Black Rio and start a YouTube channel in Portuguese. If you have questions about Brazil and international reporting, hit me up on Twitter at @Kiratiana.

 

 

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Kiratiana Freelon on becoming a foreign correspondent