Alicia Keys visits famous UPP

Wednesday, February 10, 2022

by Marcos Benjamin (text and pictures)


The sound of the clapperboard could be heard from as early as 7am. In a display of punctuality which is very uncommon to pop stars, American singer Alicia keys arrived early at the “studio” located at the community of Santa Marta this Tuesday morning. Surrounded by security guards and by her production team, Alicia was friendly with the fans who were watching the shooting. Her first stop at the community was Santa Marta’s famous overlook, which ended up being the first location of the video.  With the Sugar Loaf and a clear blue sky as background, the diva didn’t look shy at all –  wearing a white bathing suit and a see-through dress, she moved her body while many takes where being shot.

After the first part of the shooting was finished, there was a pause so that the team could move the equipments to one the community’s “lajes” (rooftops). Before that, the singer greeted the commandant of the Pacifier Police Unit, Captain Pricilla de Oliveira. “The most important thing when welcoming these famous visitors is to get them to realize that Rio de Janeiro is not a conflagrated city, much less a city torn between the slums and the asphalt,” commented the captain.

The commandant also took the opportunity to introduce the community’s cultural representative, 29-year-old Thiago Firmino, who delivered a mural with pictures of the community to Alicia, so she could autograph it. “We are living a unique moment here at the community, so I wanted to leave a piece of Santa Marta with her,” said the representative, who was born and raised at the place.

On the second part of the shooting, wearing yellow havaianas, the American diva showed patience and good spirits under the blazing heat, dancing on a rooftop in the middle of the slum. In one of her breaks, she grabbed the camera and registered the presence of the “audience”, who was crammed on the opposite rooftop, in front of the “studio”.

1995: the year when Santa Marta’s Studio was created

The king of pop, Michael Jackson, who passed away last June, set a trend 15 years ago and is now being followed by other international stars. Ever since Michael inaugurated the “studio” – back in 1995 he recorded the video clip for “They don’t care about us” at Santa Marta – other big names of the music industry have also visited the community. The most recent were Madonna and Hugh Jackman, who visited the place to see the social projects being developed there and to meet some of the families who live in the community.

Silvester Stallone, the unforgettable Rambo, also shot a few scenes of his next film, The Expendables, at the community’s alleys. But the “studio” is not only used by international celebrities: the national clapperboard is also present. The team shooting Elite Squad II has also been using the place as scenery, as well the producers of the Brazilian TV series Cidade dos Homens.


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