Perhaps the red carpet is the only thing in common with a big “fashion show”. Because not all of these models are so skinny, so high, so young. They are just beautiful. “What we see today is the African splendor,” says American designer Januwa Moja. Moreover, this is another sense of style, of beauty.
July 31 is the Day of the African woman, perfect moment for the legacy of ancestors to take shape and color which in Cuba means root, stem, flower; that´s the reason for this parade.
No electronic music: as background you hear drums, cymbals and flutes. The seductive rhythm gets them dancing in the body, and they dance as they walk, dance and smile. That is, of course, Oshun, with gold, with afeather fan. The other there, a goddess of blue lips. Moja called her creations “wearable art”, a name that makes them full justice, while several become collector’s items in galleries and American museums.
Pride. Memory. Two words. “My inspiration comes out of our origins: I did not come here by myself, were other hands that put me in that way,” tells the designer, like if Malcolm X was speaking through her mouth. “I use art as a platform for culture and history, I am an art activist.”
Photographers get winks and flattering looks, the public just leave them space. Here there are no spotlights or flashes; only light and warmth-to-be in tune, that floods through the gates of the Casa de Africa in Old Havana.
Then they go out. Before you can count to three the corner of Mercaderes is surround by people who followed the modeling and passers-by. “You’re cute, black!” Shouts one, and the afternoon gets full of applause.