Djamila Ribeiro


Born in 1980, Djamila Taís Ribeiro dos Santos holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a master’s degree in Political Philosophy from the Federal University of São Paulo. She is the coordinator of Plural Feminisms, which comprises the Plural Feminisms Space, the online platform Plural Feminisms and the editorial label Sueli Carneiro, which publishes The Book Collection Plural Feminisms.

She is the author of the books “Place of Speech” (Jandaíra / Plural Feminisms), “Who’s Afraid of Black Feminism?”, “Short Anti-racist Guide” and “Letters to my Grandmother” (Companhia das Letras), with translations into three languages. She is also a visiting professor at the journalism department of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) and a guest researcher at the University of Mainz (Germany).

She is an immortal occupant of the chair #28 of the Academy of Literature of São Paulo. Columnist of the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo and the German magazine Der Spiegel, she was assistant secretary for Human Rights in São Paulo in 2016. She is a laureate of the 2019 Prince Claus Prize, awarded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and considered by the BBC as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the World.

In 2020, she won the Jabuti Award, the most important in Brazilian literature, in the category of Human Sciences, for A Short Anti-racist Guide. In 2021, she was the first Brazilian person in history to be honored by the BET Awards, granted by the USA Black community. 

She is the loving mother of Thulane Ribeiro Alves da Silva, her greatest pride, master in Reiki and member of the Squad, a WhatsApp group with her friends Flávia Monteiro, Marília Salles and Débora Caroline. 


Djamila Ribeiro in Belo Horizonte. Photo source: Luciano Vianna/SESC

As coordinator of the Sueli Carneiro label in partnership with Editora Jandaíra, she has published texts and books by more than 80 Black authors. The label is an independent project that aims to publish Black people, especially women, from Brazil and Latin America, as well as to democratize the knowledge of these social groups, which have been historically invisible.

The Plural Feminisms Collection is owned by the label and has been publishing critical themes, written by Black people, at an affordable price and accessible language. The small, didactic format of book, distributed at the doors of the cultural launches promoted by the collection broke paradigms in the publishing market and became a roaring success with hundreds of thousands of copies sold. 

Place of Speech, the first work in the collection and written by Djamila, was released in November 2017. Since its release, it has figured among the best-selling works in all lists of the publishing market. It was in the second best-seller position of the Paraty Literary Fair of 2018, the largest in Brazil, which was considered a historical achievement, since it was an independent editorial label. It is worth mentioning that in 2019, Place of Speech was in the 9th position on FLIP’s list, making a double Best Seller List in consecutive years, another remarkable achievement in the history of Brazilian literature. In addition, it figured in the first position of bestsellers of dozens of literary fairs, such as the Book Fair of Cachoeira (FLICA), Literary Fair of the Peripheries (FLUP), Literary Festival of Porto Alegre, the Pelourinho Book Fair (FLIPELÔ), among many others.

By the publisher Companhia das Letras, Djamila is the author of three books. The book “Who’s Afraid of Black Feminism?”, published in 2018, gathers her writings in the column she kept for years at the CartaCapital magazine and figures in repeated bestseller lists at bookstores or literary fairs. The texts published in the column have been incorporated in several pedagogical materials for elementary and high schools across the country and are references for anti-racist and feminist debates.

In November 2019, “Short Anti-racist Guide” was released, her book with the greatest repercussions in the country and which has been on the list of best-selling books in Veja Magazine for more than 80 weeks. The book has 11 chapters on topics such as contemporary racism, Blackness, whiteness, racial violence, culture, desire and affection, and it also brings a glossary of Black authors.  In February 2021, Djamila reached the mark of 500 thousand books sold in Brazil. 

In her recent book “Letters to my Grandmother”, Djamila rescues her memories in letters to her grandmother Antonia, telling of her childhood, adolescence and challenges of adult life. Since its release, the book has already appeared on the bestseller list and has had a very touching impact on its readers.

A fifth book called “Transatlantic Dialogues”, which puts together meetings between her and Nadia Yala, a professor at the University of Paris 8, was published in France by Editions Anacaona in 2020 and will be published by Bazar do Tempo in 2023.

We can say one of her main honors occurred on the First of September 2022, when she was sworn in at the Literary Academy of São Paulo, in chair 28, succeeding the historical and brilliant Brazilian writer Lygia Fagundes Telles. The inauguration ceremony filled the Largo do Arouche building with people from different social places who were involved by the atabaques drumming of Djamila’s terreiro community, which organized the whole party. The presentation speech of Pai Rodney and the welcoming speech of the immortal writer Leandro Karnal prepared the ground for the inauguration speech of the writer who became the youngest among her contemporary immortal fellows and the second Black woman in history to occupy a chair, following in the footsteps of the writer Ruth Guimarães. Her daughter Thulane, Pai Rodney, author Conceição Evaristo and deputies Leci Brandão and Orlando Silva, of the Communist Party of Brazil, a party that her father Joaquim Ribeiro dos Santos co-founded in Santos, took the stage to dub her at the Academy.

Djamila Ribeiro at her dubbing at Academia Paulista de Letras. Photo source: Max Felipe

Djamila Ribeiro at her dubbing at Academia Paulista de Letras. Photo source: Max Felipe

Her books are widely read in undergraduate and graduate course syllabuses. Place of Speech alone, for example, according to Google Academics, which measures the bibliometric impact of undergraduate and graduate works in the country, recorded a total of 657 citations in Master’s and Doctoral works in the second half of 2020, and Djamila is “only” an undergraduate and Master from the Federal University of São Paulo. Lines of thousands of people formed at fairs and literary events for autographs where she passed in the country, such as in Salvador, Belém, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortaleza, Teresina, Rio Branco, Curitiba, Natal, Bonito, Ribeirão Preto, Bauru, and many others. There has been classroom readings in elementary and high schools with debates and discussion, public school teaching materials, as well as handouts adopted in several private schools, in language schools and used in prestigious entrance exams, such as Fuvest and Unicamp, as well as adopted as a mandatory bibliography of Philosophy at the Federal University of Paraná.

Djamila is the author of more than a dozen prefaces in publishings, one of the first being the preface of “Women, Race and Class,” written by American Black feminist Angela Davis. It was Djamila who contacted her to have the book translated and published in Brazil in 2016. In her career, other prefaces of paramount importance stood out, such as the catalog of the exhibition of the Portuguese multidisciplinary thinker Grada Kilomba at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, about Greek myths interpreted by the decolonial perspective.

Djamila also pens the preface to “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, by the American writer Maya Angelou, with a preface also by Oprah Winfrey; the preface to “The Bluest Eye”, by Toni Morrison, the first and only Black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. The preface to this work stemmed from the TAG Livros book club. Toni Morrison would pass away months later, but she could, still alive, be aware of the work prefaced by Djamila Ribeiro, a fact that brought her a lot of emotion.

Over the years, there have been several international meetings with thinkers from all over the world, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Achille Mbembe, Ruby Bridges, Kalaf Epalanga, Mamadou Ba, Ruth Gilmore, among others.In 2022, at the Salão Carioca do Livro, Djamila mediated the lecture given by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in a Maracanãzinho stadium crowded by thousands of people who sold out in minutes. The gathering was part of an agenda of meetings between the writers involved in a lot of affection.

Djamila and Chimamanda in Rio de Janeiro. Photo source: Bel Acosta

Djamila and Chimamanda in Rio de Janeiro. Photo source: Bel Acosta

Djamila Ribeiro and the Sueli Carneiro publisher

In partnership with the publisher Jandaíra, led by publisher Lizandra Magon, Djamila coordinates the Sueli Carneiro Publisher and, as its editor, published “Sueli Carneiro: Writings of a Life”, by the honored Sueli Carneiro.  The launch event at SESC Pompéia brought together admirers, the writer’s family and emblematic figures of the Brazilian Black movement. The second published title “Ó Paí Prezada: racismo e sexismo tomando bonde nas penitenciárias femininas”, the master’s dissertation of Carla Akotirene by the Federal University of Bahia.

In November 2020, the third book of the label: Quilombola Women, which, under the Coordination of Selma Dealdina, brings together eighteen women from different quilombola communities in the country. It is an unprecedented work in the history of the country that had the support of the National Coordination for the Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola Communities (CONAQ). In September 2021, the label released its first translation, the book “Black Power”, by the Trinbagonian and US-based activist Kwame Ture, also known as Stokely Carmichael. The book is prefaced by his son Bokar Ture and was a landmark in the civil rights movement in the twentieth century, being responsible for coining the expression “institutional racism”. 

At the end of 2021, through an open call with support of the entrepreneur Maurício Rocha, “A New History, Made of Stories: Invisible Black Personalities in the History of Brazil” was published. The book, which brings together 16 texts by Black scholars from different parts of Brazil, rescues Black personalities worthy of recognition for their contributions to history.

In 2022, the book “Quilombola Education: territorialities, knowledge and the struggles for rights”’ was published, which collects texts resulting from the I Virtual National Quilombola Education Day, an event that was a partnership between the University of Brasília (UnB) and CONAQ.

In the same year, the Okán Dùdù (Black Heart) series was launched, which aims to publish books on African-based religions. The premiere was the book “Axé, the power to accomplish: messages to change your day” by Rodney William. 

The most recent work, released in October 2022, was “The Black resistance to the racial exclusion project – Brazil 200 years (1822-2022)”, organized by Prof. Hélio Santos, who gathered 18 texts by historical figures of the Black movement, such as Kabengele Munanga, Sueli Carneiro, Cida Bento, Ana Maria Gonçalves, among many others, to reflect on the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence from a Black perspective. Djamila Ribeiro published a paper in this work with the title “The urgent democratization of media: a Gasparian approach”.

Djamila Ribeiro and the Plural Feminisms collection

The Plural Feminisms collection has already become an essential collective work for raising awareness among the Brazilian population about antiracist and feminist perspectives, as well as revolutionizing the Brazilian publishing market by expanding the space for the large-scale publication of Black non-fiction productions of theoretical quality and social engagement. 

Thirteen titles have been published to date, exceeding the mark of 300,000 books sold. They are in the following order: Place of Speech; Mass Incarceration, by Juliana Borges; Empowerment, by Joice Berth; Intersectionality, by Carla Akotirene; Structural Racism, by Silvio Almeida; Recreational Racism, by Adilson Moreira; Cultural Appropriation, by Rodney William; Religious Intolerance, by Sidnei Barreto; Colorism, by Alessandra Devulsky and Transfeminism, by Letícia Nascimento; “Domestic Work”, by Juliana Teixeira; “Hate Speech on Social Networks”, by Luiz valério Trindade and “Racial Quotas”, by Lívia Sant’anna Vaz.

The transformations promoted in Brazil by the editorial work of Djamila Ribeiro have been and will continue to be the object of much historical reflection. From the outset, it should be noted that the hundreds of thousands of books sold are not only an expressive number of the success of the works themselves. According to research by Regina Dalcastagnè, from the university of Djamila Ribeiro, between 1964 and 2014, publications by Black people in major publishers represented only 10% of catalogs.

In the editorial movement fronted by Djamila, these works also represented a strengthening of the group of Black people in the market, becoming a factor responsible for the significant increase in works published by Black people in the country. 

“When Djamila (Ribeiro) quotes Audre Lorde or other incredible Black authors, whether fiction, nonfiction, poetry or theater, publishers go after it,” says Florencia Ferrari, Director of Ubu Publishing in an interview with the newspaper O Globo. 

Editorial Work Abroad

Djamila Ribeiro’s editorial work has crossed the Atlantic and established solid roots in Europe. Due to partnerships with publishers in France, Italy and Spain, their articulation has led to translations of the works, so far translated and published in French in Editions Anacaona (Joice Berth, Adilson Moreira, Rodney William, Alessandra Devulsky and Letícia Nascimento), Spanish (Juliana Borges) and Italian in Capovolte Edizioni (Carla Akotirene).

The pandemic slowed the going of authors of the Collection to the countries, postponing the arrival of the Black Brazilian intelligentsia in an booming scenario. Between 2019 and early 2020, in France alone there were two long tours and some quick passages through the country. The tours were in partnership with the Accor hotel chain. All events with a full house and presence in important literary festivals. The post-pandemic return was in October 2022, with a tour by Djamila Ribeiro and Rodney William in France, Belgium and Germany. Djamila was about to launch her four books in French, while Pai Rodney became the third author in the Collection to undertake her book launch tour. This particular journey was supported by the Accor chain and the Air France airline.

In 2022, Djamila Ribeiro was in Italy at the Turin International Book Fair, where she released some of her works in Italian published by Capovolte – in particular the translation of Place of Speech. In 2023, Djamila leaves for a launch tour where she will also feature the translation of the Short Anti-racist Guide and the book Letters to my Grandmother.

Djamila Ribeiro is a member of the Beauvoir Society, which brings together scholars of the thoughts of Simone de Beauvoir, having spoken at two conferences: in Oregon, in the United States, while still an undergraduate student in Philosophy, and in St. Louis, also in the United States, as a Master’s student. Already a Master, she has held conferences at dozens of universities around the world, such as Berkeley, Duke, Harvard, King’s College, Oxford, London School of Economics, Universities of Montpellier, Lyon, Toulouse, Rennes, Aarhus, Oslo, Amsterdam, among many others. 

In 2018 she gave a class in the “Angela Davis chair for guest professors” at Goethe University, Germany, and in 2019 she was a researcher at Maxcy’s College, at the invitation of South Carolina University. Also present at the Frankfurt, Berlin and Edinburgh Book Fairs, as well as closing the program of the 2019 Brussels Feminist Festival. She speaks several times at the UN side events, as well as at Unesco.

In 2023, she was a keynote speaker at the UN General Assembly, on the Day in Remembrance of the Abolition of Slavery and the Transtlantic Slave Trade. The theme of her speech was on “Fighting the legacy of slavery and racism through transformative education”.

In 2021, she became a guest researcher at Mainz University in Germany, where she carried out a series of activities with the translation department at the invitation of Professor Cornelia Sieber. The publication of “Place of Speech” in German was translated by Inajá Wittkowski, revised by Jamila Adamou and produced by Ana Graça Wittkowski. It was published by Editions Assemblage, in partnership with the University of Mainz. Djamila attended the launch of the work at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2022. The English edition of “Place of Speech”, is under contract with Yale University Press for publication in the second half of 2023.

As for official agendas, in October 2017 Djamila spent a week at the invitation of the Government of Norway getting to know and conversing with Norwegian public policies. In 2018, at the invitation of the tourism body of South Africa, she was for a week visiting the country and that same year she was awarded in the Most Influential People of Africa Descent (MIPAD), by the UN. Already in March 2019, she was chosen for the “Personality Of Tomorrow” program by the French government, which selects one person per country for a week of official agendas.

 In 2019, she was named by the BBC as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the World and, at the end of the year, she was awarded the Prince Claus Awards presented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the highest honor to a foreign person, in honor of the work of democratization of reading and her work as a public intellectual.

In 2020, she participated in the literary residency at Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB), in which she produced an article under the guidance of Natasha Kelly for a book published in several languages. She met Claudia Roth, vice-president of the Bundestag, as well as being at an event in Portugal for SOS Racism.

She was a main guest at the Women of Colour Festival. Participated as a main guest at the Verbier Art Summit in Switzerland, in 2020; and in 2021 was at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and was the honored writer of the Lima Fair in Peru. In the same year, became the first Brazilian person to be awarded at the BET Awards, the highest award in the USA Black community. Djamila Ribeiro received the award in the Global Good category, for the social impact of her work to democratize knowledge coming from the Black population represented in the global community.  

Djamila Ribeiro em ensaio para o BET Global Good Awards. Foto: Helena Wolfenson.

She was the host of a season of the Entrevista television program, on Canal Futura network, in which she interviewed personalities such as Marielle Franco. She records covers and extensive interviews in newspapers like Tas in Germany, the Italian Il Manifesto, the Dutch NR and the French Afrojeunesse, in addition to participating in articles in the largest international newspapers, such as The Guardian, New York Times, among others, as well as in the largest news agencies, such as Reuters, AFP. She has appeared on the Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN), BBC and Al Jazeera.

In the national media, is present in the largest printed media outlets, O Globo, Estadão, Valor Econômico, as well as for a year in the seat of consultants of the Amor e Sexo program, by Rede Globo, as well as at the center of Roda Vida, TV Cultura. Appeared on the covers of Forbes, Forbes Life, ELLE, Ela, GQ, Claudia, Gol, Donna magazines. She is in fashion editorials of Bazaar, Glamor, Vogue magazines, spending a week in Milan at Fashion Week at the invitation of Prada. She is in political editorials of the magazines Época, Istoé, as in profiles of Trip and GQ. She has won the “Cidadã SP” award in the category of Human Rights, Dandara dos Palmares and Trip Transformadores. Was a columnist for CartaCapital magazine and Marie Claire magazine. Is a commentator for TV Cultura news and since June 2019 has been a columnist for Da Ilustrada section of the Folha de São Paulo newspaper , where she writes weekly on Fridays. Since 2022 has been a columnist for the German magazine Der Spiegel. 

She won the “Cidadã SP” award in the Human Rights category, the Dandara dos Palmares Award and the Trip Transformadores. She also received the Brás Cubas Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the city of Santos, her hometown. She received the Black Race Trophy, granted by Faculdade Zumbi dos Palmares and tributes from the Legislative Assemblies of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Records speeches at various business congresses, as well as categories of class associations and unions. The public recognition of her work, credibility and didactics were soon noticed by brands wishing to enhance their diversity teams. In 2020, at the request of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, she idealized the course “Antiracist Sport: Everyone Wins” directed to the Brazilian Olympic delegation of the Tokyo Olympics. The course was mandatory for all athletes, in addition to the technical committee and confederation leaders. The initiative was so successful that in the end it received the support of Unesco and was exported to Olympic delegations from other countries.

In addition, she coordinates a series of consulting for large companies, both in products, and, in partnership with law firms, participates in ESG teams to assess the diversity sector in companies. In 2021, she joined L’oreal’s international diversity board in Paris. In 2022, at the invitation of YouTube, she produced with the support of the Investigative Journalism Association (Abraji), the course “Journalism Against Hegemonic: reflections for a new present”, an open course based on the one that she taught at PUC-SP and PUC-RS and that, in just one month, added more than 3 thousand hours of playback, being adopted in several undergraduate programs in communication.

In her career, has carried out a series of campaigns and specific advertising actions for brands. At the end of 2018, she consulted and participated in an Avon advertising campaign. In 2019, at the invitation of The Body Shop, she went to Tamale, in the interior of Ghana, to meet the shea butter producing communities. At the beginning of 2021, she launched an exclusive line of lipstick under the brand Quem Disse Berenice?. Part of the fees of the campaign was reverted to the organization Mulheres da Luz, which fosters women in vulnerable situations in the center of São Paulo, as well as to the Neusa Santos Collective, which gathers and seeks to guarantee the permanence of Black students in the postgraduate program of PUC in São Paulo.

Since 2020, Djamila Ribeiro has been an ambassador for Johnnie Walker Brazil, starring and formulating campaign scripts. In one of them, the campaign “Black women keep marching”, Djamila had the participation and endorsement of the writers Carla Akotirene, Kiusam de Oliveira and the family of Lélia González.

To date, her book donations have exceeded tens of thousands in various actions, both in one-off projects with libraries, public schools, reading clubs, popular prep courses and prisons, as well as in larger shipments. At each book launch, Djamila usually distributes at least 100 copies, as well as other social actions. In 2019, donated 500 books distributed mainly to communities and libraries throughout the nine states of the Legal Amazon, in partnership with the Tide Setúbal Foundation. In the same year, 1000 books were donated to settlements of the Movimento dos Sem Terra. 10,000 copies of Rodney William’s Cultural Appropriation have already been prepared for donation to public high school students. 

 In 2021, while participating in the Hora do Faro program, Djamila announced the donation of 1000 books to Majori Silva, a 22-year-old who, inspired by her work, built with her own hands the “Place of Speech library”, in honor of Djamila, in a peripheral community of Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo. In the midst of the Corona virus crisis, in partnership with the company Lola Cosmetics, coordinated the articulations that resulted in the donation of 10 bottles of hand sanitizer for quilombola communities in the Região dos Lagos, in Rio de Janeiro. 

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: 4 FEBRUARY 2022: Philosopher and writer Djamila Ribeiro reading and writing at her home in São Paulo. CREDIT: Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: 4 FEBRUARY 2022: Philosopher and writer Djamila Ribeiro reading and writing at her home in São Paulo. CREDIT: Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

As an activist, she has participated for many years as an educator in preparatory courses for the Black youth. She was assistant secretary for Human Rights at the City Hall of São Paulo, under Fernando Haddad, in 2016, where she implemented policies such as Transcidadania, for the care and professional training of transgender people in vulnerable situations. Currently, she is training for the Popular Legal Prosecutors group (PLPs), which forms female leaders in the peripheries of the state of São Paulo, for the Feminist School of Heliópolis, in addition to participating in training courses for prosecutors, Law judges and various other servants of the Brazilian justice system. She gives lectures and hosts events in peripheries all over the country. 

She recently led a nationwide lawsuit against Twitter for economic exploitation of racism and misogyny based on research showing that Black women are the main targets of hate speech on the social network. Already in 2021, at the invitation of the Superior Electoral Court, she headed the campaign against misinformation about the electoral process and Brazilian electronic voting machines. Djamila did not receive any fees for this action.

In 2020, she launched the online platform plural Feminisms courses for audiovisual communication and studies on Black feminism, among other approaches to racial and feminist studies. The day after the launch, she received an invitation from actor Paulo Gustavo to occupy his Instagram page for a month, an unprecedented action in Brazil and, in terms of scale and duration worldwide. The occupation inspired infinite similar actions and from it came the promotion of popular projects in what became known by the hashtag #JuntospelaTransformação. More than 80 projects were supported with training and distribution of signatures for engagement in communities. With the support of presenter Fernanda Gentil, five thousand signatures were distributed to non-governmental organizations. The platform opened with professors from universities of several regions of the country and, given its vast production of articles, study groups and live classes is considered the largest streaming of racial and feminist studies in the country. 

In April 2022, she founded the Plural Feminisms space, dedicated to the orixá Iansã and focused on the holistic care of women, with the services of a psychologist, dental care, women’s healing circle, events to professionalize women-run businesses, legal advice, cultural events, among many activities. Among them is the partnership with the Rosângela Rigo shelter, aimed at supporting women victims of domestic violence. The property where the space is based is located at Alameda Tupiniquins, 343, in Moema, in the São Paulo south region, in a townhouse leased by Maurício Rocha, who is the administrative director of the space.

At this space there have recently been book launch events, having hosted the launches of several authors of the Plural Feminisms collection and the Sueli Carneiro label. The events and the space itself have received important support from Ambev. The fields of activity of the space are diverse and new ones are to come, such as the publication of the open call for participation of the Johnnie Walker Fund for support and professionalization of initiatives of Black women entrepreneurs. 

With only eight months of operation, more than a thousand women have already been assisted and countless people have been present at the space’s events. The complete information was summarized in a document handed over to the French Minister of Human Rights, Ms. Catherine Colonna, visiting the Espaço in February 2022.

São Paulo, February 28, 2023 – Date of publication of her website with biographical information, information and link to book purchase, latest articles, professional schedule and contact info.


Last updated: March 28, 2023.

Djamila Ribeiro PR Team

View more