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AfroFuturo is a photo, video, and live performance installation with Cuban and American performers. It investigates hair as a concept of beauty and the connexions between the historical, mythological, and contemporary realities of Afro Cuban and Afro American women.

The performance is the journey of the black women through an exploration of hair. Transforming the protagonist, the Black woman, from weave to braids to the Afro. And joining together traditional Afro Cuban dances with contemporary New Orleans dance like bounce. At the end of the piece Black & Latino women are ask to join together in a circle (see image below). We sing "Down By the Riverside" in English and Spanish

AfroFuturo merges three popular black hairstyles with visual abstractions, as an iconic way of re-establishing and reintroducing, not only the approaches to hair, but the ideas behind the looks. Each hairstyle is informed by a different shape and Orisha: the Afro/circle/Yemeja, weave/square/Oshun, and braids/triangle/Oya

AfroFuturo is part of the El Acercamiento/The Approach project out of Havana:, a groundbreaking multimedia transnational project conceived by artist Evelyn Serrano with Yamile Pardo, that investigates the past, present and possible futures of Cuba-U.S. relations.  In La Habana, the current process of normalization (under Obama) of relations between Cuba and the United States is termed “el acercamiento”, the slow and cautious act of getting closer.

"Afro Futuro" is one of several works by CalArts students from Los Angeles who are working with Cuban artists from La Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, the most prestigious fine arts school in Cuba. They call the exhibition of their works "El Acercamiento/Approach." -- Artists from Los Angeles collaborate with Cubans for exhibit that will come to Miami  3/29/2017 ABC

Afro Futuro by Shaina Lynn Simmons
Set design Tanya Orellano
Costume design Beryl Brachman & Jocelyn Dimaya
Cuban performers
Leydiana Lisbett Valdés López
Anisley González Buduen
American performers

Jasmine Gatewood
Paige McGhee
Victoria Wallace
Ra Nubi
Isabel Ivy





Artists from Los Angeles collaborate with Cubans for exhibit that will come to Miami  3/29/2017 ABC: "Women's rituals of Vodou and Santeria intrigue Shaina Lynn Simmons. She said black women in New Orleans and Havana have plenty in common. The CalArts Center for New Performance graduate student from New Orleans said she finds the strong cultural resistance during the African diaspora fascinating. The actress is working on "Afro Futuro," a collaboration with Cubans that she described as "a photo, video and live performance installation that explores the mythologies and realities of black women and Afro-Cuban women.""

Cuban and American Artists Unite at Centro Cultural Español in Miami, Florida on December 1  11/2/2016 : "For El Acercamiento/The Approach, events in Havana, Los Angeles and Miami challenge Cuban and American artists to envision possible futures between the two countries. In Havana, the current process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States is termed “el acercamiento,” the slow and cautious act of getting closer. With El Acercamiento/The Approach, Cuban and American artists create their own forms of diplomacy as they explore relations between the two nations."

Say Dark Meat: The Wrong Way to Approach A Dark Skin Woman  9/15/2016 Huff Post: by Shaina Lynn Simmons "Last month a brother tried to ‘holla’ at me by yelling out, “Say dark meat, come here!”"

Links/Enlaces top
Afro Futuro: lighting and graphic design

Pelo bueno/Pelo Malo
Good Hair/Bad Hair



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