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.”
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.
Take a look at some of the beautiful photos from the day.
Felicia Solano, 72, was the overall winner of the Natural hair competition.
Four‐year‐old Dayanira was a runner‐up in the hair competition.
Five‐year‐old Paulina Champan was also a runner up in the hair competition.
What do you think of the competition as a way to recognize black beauty in Cuba?