ETHNIC AND CULTURAL GROUPS

Afro-Cubans are Cubans who’s ancestry is in West Africa or other parts of Africa.

Afrocubanismo is a term used to describe the influential artistic movement of the late 1920s and 1930s in Cuba, similar in many ways to the Harlem Renaissance. It was characterized by a sudden increase of interest in Afro-Cuban themes in music, novels, painting, ballet, and other forms of expression that had no priority in the Caribbean prior to that time. These were the first decades in which the culture of the black working class was accepted as a legitimate form of national expression by Cuban society as a whole. Afrocubanismo influenced almost all types of art, both elite and popular, which included the poetry of Emilio Ballagas, José Tallet, and Nicolás Guillén; the paintings of Eduardo Abela, Jaime Valls, and Wilfredo Lam; the novels of Alejo Carpentier; the musical theater of Ernesto Lecuona, Jaime Prats, and Gonzalo Roig; the symphonic compositions of Alejandro García Caturla, Amadeo Roldán, and Gilberto Valdés; and the popularity of Cuban son music and commercial dance bands.

Afrocubanismo art was created and promoted by various groups of people in Cuba. Formally trained (mainly white) middle-class artists created representations of black culture that had a huge impact on national consciousness, especially through popular song. Cuba’s black middle classes contributed significantly to the popularization of the art, though primarily as interpreters. Working-class Afrocubans supported the movement more specifically by forming carnival bands, making new musical genres more popular from within their own communities, performing for tourists, and infusing commercial arts of various kinds with influences from cultural traditions.

This era birthed a new passion in many Afro-Cuban progressive thinkers, journalists, and artists. They strived to forge an identity that was inclusive of the African heritage and the contributions of Afro-Cubans in all aspects of the country’s history.

Bravo! Way to go, Cuba! 💜

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