Following the death Saturday of a legendary Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro came under fire for what is widely seen as his underwhelming response.
Joao Gilberto, who was known in his native Brazil as “O Mito,” “The Legend,” died at his home in Rio de Janeiro at age 88. He is considered by many to be the father of bossa nova music, which gained worldwide popularity in the 1960s.
“Impassioned tributes to Gilberto rocketed around Brazilian media, social and conventional, following his death on Saturday,” the AP reports. “Bolsonaro, meanwhile, told reporters that Gilberto was ‘a known person. Condolences to the family, OK?'”
Bolsonaro’s response sparked harsh criticism. Brazilian singer Leoni sent out a tweet saying Bolsonaro “doesn’t have a clue of the importance of sophistication of Joao Gilberto.”
The AP adds: “Leftist lawmaker Marcelo Freixo tweeted, ‘Today we lost the true Brazilian legend,’ a snippy allusion to the term Bolsonaro’s supporters use for the president.”
The report also notes: “Bolsonaro has had a rocky relationship with Brazil’s artistic community, and has said he plans to drastically reduce the budget for arts and culture grants, saying that public funding has been going ‘to the “famous” people under the false argument that they’re incentivizing culture, but are just buying support.’”
Gilberto himself generally stayed out of politics, but the AP notes that “a number of his colleagues in the bossa nova movement of the 1960s were openly hostile to the military dictatorship that took power in 1964 — a government that Bolsonaro has praised.”