Afro-Colombians have been celebrating the beauty of Black hair, as seen in their latest annual braiding contest, “Tejiendo Esperanzas” (Weaving Hopes).
According to Travel Noire, Afro-Colombians recently held their annual Weaving Hopes event in celebration of Black hair’s endless versatility. During the competition, which took place in Cali, CO, participants created braids in colorful adornments and intricate patterns. Its contests welcomed hairdressers of the region to compete in categories that highlighted various braiding styles, including natural, synthetic, men’s, and children’s braid styles.
“Weaving Hopes is already 18 years old, creating a space that has been a pioneer in the deconstruction of negative imaginaries about black aesthetics in Colombia,” Emilia Eneyda Valencia Murrain, a representative of the Association of Afro-Colombian Women, Amafracol, said in a statement. “We want to continue with this tradition of hairstyles of African origin, which brings together hairdressers from all regions of the country, preserving an ancestral legacy and being part of Afro culture.”
Another part of the Weaving Hopes event was a “Hair Marathon,” in which spectators got the opportunity to have their hair braided as well.
All in all, the annual celebration was launched in commemoration of Colombian slavery’s abolition via the tradition of braiding. It’s reportedly one of the countless efforts to save Colombia’s African culture and customs, as it’s traditionally held on May 21st–the day slavery was abolished in Colombia in 1851.
This year’s event was organized by the Association of Afro-Colombian Women, Amafracol, with support from the CaliAfro program of the Social Welfare Secretariat.
Other Latin celebrities have reportedly been bringing awareness to their Blackness and natural hair in the past few years, such as Dominican singer Amara La Negra. The singer famously wears an Afro, which she was made fun of for rocking during an episode of Love & Hip Hop Miami in 2018. She later addressed the issue on LHHMIA’s first season reunion.