When Barcelona’s fullback, Dani Alves, had a banana hurled at him during a La Liga match at Villarreal, he did what very few others would ever contemplate doing…he ate it.
From that one action, a whole new anti-racism campaign was launched, unbeknownst to the Brazilian international, as social media showed its growing power once again in helping to tackle society’s unwanted problems.
Just moments after the final whistle was blown, Alves’ teammate and fellow countryman, Neymar, posted a picture of himself eating a banana on Twitter, asking others to join him with the hashtag #weareallmonkeys.
From that moment, hundreds of celebrities, sport stars and political figures have joined in the campaign and despite its critics, #weareallmonkeys has swept across social media.
The campaign was initially thought up by Barcelona’s forward, Neymar, after he was victim of racist verbal abuse at a league match with Espanyol.
In an attempt to tackle one of Spanish football’s taboo subjects, the 22-year-old, along with Brazilian advertising agency, Loducca, planned for the hashtag to tackle the issue head on.
“Neymar didn’t want to be quiet, he wanted to use his own powerful voice to create something to talk about racism,” Guga Ketzer, partner at Brazilian agency Loducca, told the BBC.
“We created this idea with the hashtag ‘we are all monkeys’ and the idea was to use it and take a picture of him eating a banana.
“It was the best way to empower and start this conversation in Brazil.
“It is to prove to the racists that we are all together – whether we are black, white, yellow, it doesn’t matter. We are all monkeys. Our idea was to make the racist powerless. It is one of the biggest racist conversations in years in Brazil and even in the world.”
Alves, who spoke to reporters after the incident last month, said racism was a very real problem in the country.
“We have suffered this in Spain for some time,” he said.
“You have to take it with a dose of humour. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”