In Brazil, a constellation of stars in the presidential cybercampaign

Gripping a pole dance bar, sultry gaze, Brazilian pop star Anitta, dressed in ultra-tight bright red tights, calls on her 60 million Instagram followers to vote Lula.

In a campaign at loggerheads for Sunday’s election, more and more show business stars are openly posting on social networks their preference between the two favorites, the left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003- 2010) and far-right head of state Jair Bolsonaro.

The list of artists who want Lula to return to power is as long as it is eclectic.

We find pop or funk stars like Anitta, but also Ludmilla or Luisa Sonza, as well as rappers like Emicida and sacred monsters of Brazilian song, such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil or Chico Buarque.

On the Bolsonaro side, the famous supporters come mostly from sertanejo, a kind of country music with Brazilian sauce, with huge stars like Gusttavo Lima, unknown abroad, but extremely popular in his country.

– “God, family, homeland” –

“There is a feeling of defiance towards politics. But when a celebrity says they are going to vote for a candidate on the networks, they manage to reach their fans in a more personal way, erasing this feeling of defiance”, says to AFP Issaaf Karhawi, researcher specializing in social networks at the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

For Paulo César Gomes, historian at the Federal University Fluminense, “the commitment of artists to the left has existed for a long time, especially with those who opposed the military dictatorship”, such as the “tropicalist” musicians Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil, exiled during the years of lead.

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“But the fact of seeing singers supporting the far right is much more recent. It dates back to the mass protests of 2013, against leftist president Dilma Rousseff, and the mobilization for her impeachment in 2016”, specifies-t- he.

Gusttavo Lima, 33, who has more than 44 million Instagram followers, had already declared his support for Jair Bolsonaro and his pro-gun policies during the 2018 campaign, with a video in which he was seen shooting a gun. powerful assault rifle.

More recently, during a concert in Brasilia, he launched into a diatribe against “communism” embodied according to him by Lula and defended the Bolsonarist values ​​”God, family, fatherland”.

– Hollywood gets involved –

Can this support translate into voices? “It is difficult to measure, but the figures show, for example, that a large number of young people have registered on the electoral lists, after an intense campaign in this direction by renowned artists on the networks”, explains Issaff Karhawi.

Anitta, the first Brazilian singer to reach the top of the Spotify charts, notably said on her networks that she would only pose for photos with fans if they were registered to vote on October 2.

A call relayed by American actor Leonardo Di Caprio, who regularly criticizes President Bolsonaro on social networks, accusing him of destroying the Amazon, just like comedian Mark Ruffalo.

Critics to which the head of state responds tit for tat, with messages full of irony and written in English, while he only speaks Portuguese.

“Bolsonaro’s campaign feeds on these attacks to galvanize his supporters. The rejection of a hyper-sexualized artist like Anitta can be a good thing for him, to strengthen his position as a defender of traditional mores,” said Thiago Soares, who coordinates a research group on pop culture at the University of Pernambuco.

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“The sertanejo singers are aimed at the inhabitants of rural areas who live off agribusiness, conservative and pro-Bolsonaro strongholds, unlike Anitta or Ludmilla, who represent the culture of the favelas”, poor neighborhoods of large metropolises.

Pro-Lula artists are still trying to walk on Bolsonarist borders. During her concert at the Rock in Rio mega-festival in mid-September, Ludmilla presented herself with a yellow and green jersey, the colors of Brazil, a symbol that has been appropriated for years by the far-right president’s supporters. .

Many celebrities have also joined the campaign in favor of the useful vote to elect Lula in the first round, such as Caetano Veloso, who previously supported Ciro Gomes (center left), credited with 7% of voting intentions.