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Cuba Holds Its First Natural Hair Competition to Promote Black Pride

Avatar • Jun 18, 2015
Runner-up contestant Yanely Salgado, 31, displays her hairdo on stage during an Afro hair contest in Havana, Saturday, June 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Runner-up contestant Yanely Salgado, 31, displays her hairdo on stage during an Afro hair contest in Havana, Saturday, June 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

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.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

Felicia Solano, 72, was the overall winner of the Natural hair competition.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

Four-year-old Dayanira was a runner-up in the hair competition.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

Five-year-old Paulina Champan was also a runner up in the hair competition.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

 

What do you think of the competition as a way to recognize black beauty in Cuba?

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Emprezz Abena
5 years ago

It’s a step in the right direction. It will take some time but it will certainly create the awareness as well as boost the confidence of blacks in Cuba.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

Beautiful! Love seeing natural hair being celebrated across the globe.

mummy21
mummy21
5 years ago

Wow — very nice might do something similar in Jamaica!

mds29
mds29
5 years ago

Beautiful!

disqus_sB0h1SfrCy
disqus_sB0h1SfrCy
5 years ago

Seems like black ppl are waking up around the globe and black women are at the center of it! I love how that elderly woman was the winner her frosty fro is gorgeous!

Yas
Yas
5 years ago

I think blacks in Cuba have been awake for a long time, Cuba is a white supremacist country They still practice their African religion whereas many blacks in the U.S. are now awakening to that.

Danielle C
Danielle C
5 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. One correction: Sociologists do not argue that the black percentage is so low because of prejudice. The government assigns people’s race on the census. Black Cubans are not afraid to say they are black. Sure there is racism, but that is not the reason for the census numbers.

TMW
TMW
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle C

I’m glad you said this because I found the article remarks on that puzzling. The black Cubans I met while working in Florida embraced their afro heritage fully…

ama
ama
5 years ago
Reply to  TMW

there is a difference and yes alot of Cubans do deny their african heritage. the difference being the same as other latinos who deny the same it is as simple as Dayinira saying she is not black and Paulina saying the same thing who has a better chance of being believed? And as it were there is a debate by sociologists about the extent to which Cuban population is Africa derived. This is because race matters even to governments. Cuba has a large tourist industry.

Yas
Yas
5 years ago
Reply to  ama

Just stop using the Latino label. It is a colonial term forced on Indigenous and African people. It is genocide. Do your research.

Annie
Annie
5 years ago

Have you ever been to a Dominican Salon? My Mom’s friend who worked there said that they would talk in another language and instruct the hair stylists to use harsh relaxers and hair irons on the black’s hair.

caty
caty
5 years ago
Reply to  Annie

That’s so wild! Guess who’s not taking her nappy head to DR !!! Like the antiblack & self hate is real

Annie
Annie
5 years ago
Reply to  caty

Yeah and this was when I used to get perms…the perms burnt my hair and at the time my mom thought that I was being stubborn > _ > …I was about 10 or 11 and then when they were about to flat iron my hair, it was so fragile that my hair smoked black, and the lady blamed it on me for not being “patient“enough.

Toyin Mbachu
Toyin Mbachu
5 years ago

take note DR…

Argentino Gil
Argentino Gil
5 years ago
Reply to  Toyin Mbachu

Not all dominicans deny they are black..i wish people would stop generalizing just for the sake to prove a point. The difference between cuba and the dr is thay cuba has a 99% literacy rate and they are not ignorant like dominicans who don’t have the proper education and most don’t even know how to ready or write properly. The issue goes deeper than what people want to see on the surface. In the midst of all the tragedy that is going on right now in the dr, i think people need to understand the root of the problem and… Read more »

Danielle Wynn
Danielle Wynn
5 years ago
Reply to  Argentino Gil

…read or write properly.”

Faith Sloan
5 years ago
Reply to  Argentino Gil

You just did what you accused others of doing. You generalized DR and said that all dominicans are ignorant and don’t have proper education. Really? I beg to differ. When you want to make a point, just make the point. But don’t go stupid and far fetched to support your argument. It makes you appear ignorant and prejudicial. Why the heck are we fighting A against B against C? Make the B point and leave A and C out of it.

Toyin Mbachu
Toyin Mbachu
5 years ago
Reply to  Argentino Gil

I am fully aware of that- I have never lived in the US but I have lived in Spain and Peru and the small amount of black dominicans that I have come accross did not deny their blackness . I did not make that assumption with my statement. That being said like you mentioned yourself DR has so many racial issues that can’t be denied. Whereas Cuba is being praised for this event, the DR is kicking out 2nd and possible third generation haitians out of their country, the reason behind it is racially stemmed. That’s why I told la… Read more »

AlwaysBlossom
AlwaysBlossom
5 years ago
Reply to  Argentino Gil

It doesn’t take literacy to know that you are of African descent. The problem is that the majority of DRS have self-hate issues, brought on by Europeans; colorism is deep throughout the diaspora which is linked to self-hate. DR have such a bad reputation where it concerns being of African descent. I think it’s the worst I’ve ever seen tbh.

Julie R Salazar
Julie R Salazar
5 years ago
Reply to  Toyin Mbachu

Absolutely, other countries need to take note and recognize that our natural hair is ours and we love what God gave us.

Toyin Mbachu
Toyin Mbachu
5 years ago

Yes definitely, its always refreshing to see our God-given features being celebrated 🙂

kidrobotgirl
kidrobotgirl
5 years ago

I love the hair of Ms. Felicia Solano. Gorgeous!

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

These women are beautiful and so is their hair. Congrats to Sra. Feliciano. I’m so glad she won. first runner up is hair crush material.

Clemence St-Cyr
Clemence St-Cyr
5 years ago

Well said!

Toyin Mbachu
Toyin Mbachu
5 years ago

thanks x

TMW
TMW
5 years ago

Love it!

Charlotte Johnson
Charlotte Johnson
5 years ago

Afros are back-yes. My hair doesn’t like chemicals, especially perms. So I am glad to be back to my natural. If Charleston can keep a losers flag I can certainly embrace my heritage.

Muminah Henderson
5 years ago

I was in Cuba on June 13th and did not know this event was taking place. I plan to return and would like to connect with the organizers of this event. We were also looking to connect with Afro-Cubans while there and were unable to find them in mainstream locals. Praying someone will connect with me for more information.

Keisha-Monique
Keisha-Monique
5 years ago

Hi Muminah,

My name is Keisha Monique and I organize Afro-Cuban tours. I was born in Canada to a Cuban-Jamaican family and have been living in Cuba for 3 years. We are an all Afro-Cuban company living on the island and abroad offering authentic tours focusing on our culture in Havana and one throughout the island that travels to Santiago and Guantanamo. We have one coming up on October 28-November 9, 2015. If you would like more info, please email me at keishamonique.art@gmail.com.

ackeegrl
ackeegrl
4 years ago

lol.…the article said 60% of Cubans are black so it’s kind of hard to miss them.……how did you not find the afro cubans if most of the population are made up of them?

ama
ama
5 years ago

Great! All lookin good!

Susan S.
Susan S.
5 years ago

The contestants are so beautiful! Glorious hair full of care and love, and glorious smiles full of joy and pride.

BigBlindCountry
BigBlindCountry
5 years ago

Susana Delahante..pls kindly organize one in Africa…yes Africa!

southerngyrl03
southerngyrl03
5 years ago

So obviously you aren’t really from SC.

Hazelphine Townsend
Hazelphine Townsend
5 years ago
Reply to  southerngyrl03

I am not I am a new yorker but my parents are from there and I lived there for over 20 years

Hazelphine Townsend
Hazelphine Townsend
5 years ago
Reply to  southerngyrl03

I have observed lately several younger women embraced their natural hair.

SONINKE
SONINKE
5 years ago

Be proud

Ashley Perry
Ashley Perry
5 years ago
Reply to  SONINKE

Thanks for the awesome quote! I like to collect them :3

monniej
monniej
5 years ago

so beautiful! my heart is singing! <3

Danielle Wynn
Danielle Wynn
5 years ago

This makes my heart sing. You go Cuba!

Faith Sloan
5 years ago

YES!

Estella Cohen
Estella Cohen
5 years ago

Hope one day this will be televised!

trackback

[…] Read More on Black Girl Long Hair […]

Jacqueline Smith
Jacqueline Smith
5 years ago

I’m sad that my sisters reject their natural hair these days. its as if all that Black power stuff of the 70’s got lost somewhere. I fully support Cuba in this!

anaebira
anaebira
5 years ago

But black hair is better.

Yardie
Yardie
5 years ago

The biggest benefit is unseen very often. It is felt and brings appreciation. Cuba is advanced in many regards. This could soon be one of them.

trackback

[…] Cuba Holds Its First Natural Hair Competition to Promote Black Pride {Black Girl Long Hair} […]

dude21
dude21
4 years ago

dominicans dont deny thier blackness they accept all of their mixture why do you americans hate when people call themseleves mixed? you all have issues

ackeegrl
ackeegrl
4 years ago

good start.…keep it going

ackeegrl
ackeegrl
4 years ago

it was not forced on them.….the Latino label was created because the Latino community wanted to be represented since they were not considered white or black…so a name was created for them so they can have a say in government and get equal funding for their cultural needs.……go Google it.

BBdaTaurus
BBdaTaurus
4 years ago

? ? ?

Ta Hesi Maat Ras Terah
Ta Hesi Maat Ras Terah
4 years ago

Aint nothing more beautiful on this earth than an African woman who lives in the glory of her Africaness. I know. I live with one such woman. Love you all.

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Beautiful

caty
caty
5 years ago

I’m glad that they are acknowledging the ones who accept their heritage. I can’t say the same for DR, everyone pray for the Haitians & “black looking/passing” Dominicans being deported. I hope they are all well, but I love their hair so much! Beautiful ladies.

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

This is a good look for Cuba!!

Messy Lioness
Messy Lioness
5 years ago

I so love them afro. I want to see more of it ?

Kaye Hepburn
Kaye Hepburn
5 years ago

Love it!!

AlwaysBlossom
AlwaysBlossom
5 years ago

go head ladies!!!

Amah Jones
Amah Jones
5 years ago

That’s wonderful! Way to go, Cuba.

GEEBUGGS
GEEBUGGS
5 years ago

Organize one in South Carolina. I dare you! All three competitors will be there.

Hazelphine Townsend
Hazelphine Townsend
5 years ago
Reply to  GEEBUGGS

I have to agree with you I am Marion visiting my mom and dad . I have natural hair and all I get is stares like I have a disease. My younger cousin told me last night what happened to my loss I told her I took them out and she said I shouldn’t have kept them.

Ikeya
Ikeya
5 years ago

I love… Good for you Cuba, embrace the true beauty and richness of the original woman who had coarse hair… Congratulations!!!

Tawanda Vance
Tawanda Vance
5 years ago

I think it’s wonderful because all hair is good hair.

Jorge Estemac
Jorge Estemac
4 years ago

I think is is long overdue, the effort to recover or salvage self respect and pride in one’s natural self, that is part of one human dignity, self appreciation.

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