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  • Writer's pictureLucas Lima

Geni and the Zeppelin: Chico Buarque's Song That's a True Lesson on LGBTQIA+ Stigma

Song released during the harshest period of the Military Dictatorship still sounds relevant

Chico Buarque ao lado de um microfone com um violão
Chico Buarque by Francisco Proner

"Geni and the Zeppelin," one of Chico Buarque's most iconic songs, is a true anthem of resistance and social critique. Originally released in 1978, during a period of intense censorship and political repression in Brazil, the song tells the story of Geni, a marginalized and misunderstood figure who becomes the target of prejudices and violence in a hypocritical and conservative society.

The song was the soundtrack of the play "Ópera do Malandro," a theatrical piece inspired by "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay, which portrays the bohemian and marginalized life of some figures in society. "Geni and the Zeppelin" brings precisely this chronicle-like atmosphere to the music.

The song tells the story of Geni, a transvestite who was completely pushed to the margins of society. The lyrics of the song clearly depict the contempt and humiliation that Geni endured, being considered only as a sexual object for the men of the city. Not coincidentally, this stigma is still suffered today by people within the LGBTQIA+ community.

It so happens that one day, a Zeppelin flies over the skies with its cannons aimed at the city, intending destruction. The commander of the airship announces that he will have mercy on the citizens only if Geni, the most beautiful lady he has seen, surrenders to his pleasures.

Geni, albeit reluctant, agrees to lie with the commander and saves the city from a true massacre. After the event, the woman who was hated becomes revered, but as soon as the commander and the Zeppelin leave the city, everyone returns to treating Geni in the worst possible ways.

You can watch historic performances by Chico Buarque on WePlay Music TV, the first platform for streaming Brazilian concert shows.

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