Is The Carnival “Queen” Of Samba Role Too Sexy For A 7-Year-Old?

Brazil carnival often has an anything-goes kind of attitude, but the naming of a 7-year-old to the coveted role of drum corps queen is causing controversy this year. Julia Lira has been appointed to the duty, usually reserved for barely-dressed models, by her father Marco Lira, who is the president of Viradouro samba group. If he gets his way, Julia will samba for 80 minutes in the Rio de Janeiro heat as she leads the Viradouro drummers down the parade route. A judge is now considering whether to allow her participation. And a children’s rights group says she’s too young for the role, especially in a country where sexual exploitation of children is a major problem. At the heart of the controversy is the queen’s traditionally sexy function: She is a sensual muse who causes the drummers to beat harder and faster with every rhythmic swing of her hips. The queen’s chest is usually covered, unlike most of the other participants, but her costume is nowhere near demure. However, an artistic director for Viradouro says Julia’s costume will be appropriate for a child, and the group won’t explore any sensuality. Julia lit up when she made a presentation to the former drum corps queen in a rehearsal, and said, “I’m happy because I like to dance,” when asked why she wanted the title. [New York Post]