Bad Hair

Nuria López Torres, Spain

BAD HAIR is a work about Afro Pride in which Cuban female hip hop singers with feminist and anti-racist discourses together with Afro Pride civil activists claim their African heritage. Afro hair has become, along with an Afro aesthetic in clothing, a tool for Afro-descendants in Cuba to claim their identity in recent years.

The expression „bad hair“, which is a negative expression towards the hair of black people, has a charge that goes beyond its mere literal meaning. This expression contains atrocious racism that persists to this day in Cuba. Just as many people continue to use the expression „advancing the race“ which refers to trying to lighten one‘s skin by having children with white-skinned people so that the next generation will have lighter skin colour.

This work belongs to a large project entitled „La Larga Travesía“ (the long journey) about the weight and importance of Africanness in Cuban society, which has different chapters. Cuba cannot be understood without its Africanness, which runs through it at all levels. In Pelo Malo I have used archive images and elements related to racism and slavery to generate a visual discourse between the past and the present.

Discover more: Shortlist 2023