These Black American Men Share Why They've Made São Paulo, Brazil Their Home
Photo Credit: Alton King

Photo Credit: Alton King

These Black American Men Share Why They've Made São Paulo, Brazil Their Home

black expat , Sao Paulo , Brazil
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Dec 14, 2021

50-year-old Craig Washington of Tampa, Florida, made the decision that São Paulo is the city he intends to live in forever.

Washington is currently living in Osasco, a metropolitan area, with his Brazilian wife Laura DePaula and their 9-month-old son, Coltrane. 

“I am a ‘semi-retired’ P.A.C.S administrator, and I also have a property management company in the U.S. that I will eventually expand to Brazil. I am a permanent resident here,” he told Travel Noire.

His decision to move to Brazil came when he realized that he was very comfortable and happy in São Paulo after visiting several times since 2012.

“I decided to move to Brazil in 2019 because I noticed that I was much happier in Brazil than in the US. I enjoy the people, the language, and of course, the food. Having access to fresh food and produce was appealing to me. I also loved the vibrancy of the people here. People in Brazil value living a great, full life, over just making money.” he said.

“I have traveled to different cities in Brazil, but I chose São Paulo because it reminded me of New York or Philadelphia but with a Brazilian twist. I love the multicultural, multi-ethnic makeup of the city. I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world here. I also love the Afro-Brazilian awareness. I visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum often, and it’s the first place that I take friends and family that visit from the States. I also enjoy watching different Samba groups practice for Carnival.”

He added that Brazil’s healthcare system is another reason he chose to make the country home.

Washington’s sentiments are shared by Alton King, 48, who works for the US Consulate in São Paulo. Living in São Paulo since 2019 with his wife and daughter, King has visited several places around the world. However, for him, the city allowed him to strengthen his connection to his African roots in a deeper way.

Alton King with his daughter in São Paulo

He’s built a strong network with Black Americans who live in the city, as well as Afro-Brazilians who taught him more about Black Brazilian history and culture.

“There are many cultural gems in the city, such as the Pinacoteca (a museum of visual arts founded in 1905 by the São Paulo State Government) and the Afro-Brazilian museum.”

Alton King with her daughter in Sampa Sky building

“Being in a Quilombo was one of the most impressive experiences of my life,” King said. He also mentioned that São Paulo combines modern day and a cosmopolitan lifestyle with history, culture and tradition.

King also acknowledges the racism. 

“The purported racial democracy that is often sold everywhere concerning Brazil is far from reality. Experiences of racism differ yet are similar to what occurs in the US. Racism is much more subtle here which clouds the systemic, structural, and institutional ways it exists. COVID-19 has put forth a necessary conversation (and action) whether racism and democracy can (or should) co-exist.”

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