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.
Felicia Solano, 72, was the overall winner of the Natural hair competition.
Five-year-old Paulina Champan was also a runner up in the hair competition.