A woman’s hair is said to represent her beauty and strength per various spiritual groups and old- cliché’s, which contributes greatly to why women place so much emphasis on their hair. Although, women have always invested a lot of time, money and passion into growing, maintaining and styling their hair; they have raised the stakes dramatically by spending without restrictions on hair & beauty products/supplies hence making the above industries multi-billion dollar businesses. Being that Cuba has recently publically acknowledged its large and historic Afro-Cuban community which had been ignored by the Cuban government for generations; inhabitants of the Black-Cuban community are taking full advantage of this cultural change by showing off their beauty (specifically their hair) and pride through various unification initiatives. Although, there are multitudes of different hair types; it’s not often that “Black” hair is revered as good or beautiful. With this in mind, Cuba hosted its first annual natural hair competition to promote Black pride this year.
“Havana performance artist, Susana Delahante held a black hair competition in Cuba this past weekend. Black and mixed-race women were invited to compete in three hair categories – natural, braided and dreadlocked. The two-hour competition which had over 70 contestants was described as an effort to bolster pride within the Afro-Cuban community. Delahante states: ‘I wanted to do something that legitimized my hair, this undervalued type of hair’,” retrieved from Black Girl with Long Hair (BGLH) by BGLH staff.
Due to the fact that Black Cubans have notoriously been discriminated against, frowned upon and not recognized as %100 Cubans because of their African lineage by other non-Black Cubans; members of the Afro-Cuban community are overjoyed to display their distinct Black features such as their natural hair which is why this competition was such a success. “According to the 2012 census, 64% of Cubans identified themselves as white, 23% as biracial and only 9.3% as black. Sociologists have stated the reason only a small amount of the Cuban population willingly identify as black is due to lingering prejudice. From the Wall Street Journal; 2009 estimates place the black or mixed population between 60% and 70% of Cuba’s citizens, but there are no officials of color in the upper echelons of Cuban leadership. The torture and humiliation Afro-Cuban dissidents face upon being arrested is often exacerbated by their skin color,” courtesy of BGLH by BGLH staff.
As shown above, Black Cubans are an extremely proud ethnic group of people who no longer have to hide or be ashamed of their African heritage. This newly implemented natural hair competition is just one of many “Black Pride” celebrations held in Cuba since this cultural revelation. EGL loves to see women embrace their natural beauty in any form whether it’s hair or other distinctive africoid features and ethnicity. We admire the boldness, “Boss”iness and business integrity of the producers and directors behind this monumental competition that highlights the beauty in Black hair. Salute to the Afro-Cuban Black beauties and Afro-Cuban community as a whole!!
Written By: Bridgette Dowdell, Staff Writer, Modern Domestic