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Carnival 2023: Luma de Oliveira is irritated by a question about Eike and asks for respect


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Whoever saw it, saw it. Luma de Oliveira parading along Sapucaí in front of the percussionists at the Carioca Carnival was a show that began in 1987, at Caprichosos de Pilares (topless, without silicone, classy and with that big smile) and had its last act in 2009.

That’s when she put a big blue bow on her back and defended Portela’s colors, raising the bleachers and making the crowd in the boxes and boxes jostle to see her pass. It was a historic moment but no one knew about it. Luma was determined to stop (“It’s wise for you to leave a little early”) but she kept quiet. “I didn’t say it would be my farewell because it wouldn’t be nice of me, I didn’t want it to become an issue”, says the businesswoman.

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Invited to parade through the same Portela this Carnival, Luma, 58, thanked the call but to the general unhappiness of the nation, told the people of the association that she will not go. “I don’t know if I’ll be in Rio that day”, she dismisses her. The Madureira school completes 100 years and will honor important characters from its history in the parade.

She doesn’t seem comfortable talking about her absence from Portela’s party. At the beginning of the conversation, she says that she declined the invitation because she won’t be in Rio but later, in the middle of the conversation, she says, en passantwhich could be… “But why are you returning to this subject?”, she wanted to know, suspicious.

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The telephone interview enters the territory of two other memorable shows in Sapucaí. The one in 2001, when he knelt down on the track, revering the Viradouro battery stop. Unpublished, historical. A scene that stayed in the back of the memory of many people – hers included. “It was impactful,” she admits.

Three years ago, what a moment. In Tradition, she came up with a kitten costume that generated a lot of hoopla because of the collar that adorned her neck. She bore the name of Eike [Batista], her husband at the time, and the father of her two children. Submissive, they tried to tack her, in an endless discussion.

Luma takes a deep breath and says she hopes that the few people who criticized her back then have evolved.

“Perhaps these people did not think that a woman’s true freedom is for her to do what she wants, as long as it is her will, even if she chooses to live for the home, which was not the case”. When asked if she still has the collar at home, if she kept it as a souvenir, Luma curtly replies that she does not and continues in an awkward silence.

She makes it clear that she can’t stand talking about it anymore, after all 25 years have passed. But what if it’s one of the most remarkable moments in the history of Rio’s carnival? “I understand, but my life in samba is so much more than that”, she complains. “I have a beautiful history in Carnival, many friendships, I do many things besides the Avenida, I fight all year round. And I say this without pride. Respect my story!”.

She herself has thought of telling her story in a biography, uncomfortable with how much has already been said and written about her life. The idea came during the pandemic and still stands, and Luma has a phrase on the tip of her tongue that, according to her, “says it all”: “As long as the lions don’t tell their stories, they will be told by the hunters”.

The former queen of drums loses her temper once and for all -albeit with a certain sweetness- when asked about the film that tells the rise and fall of Eike as a businessman, released in 2022. “Wasn’t it Carnival? movie asking? Oh no”.

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