In recent years, the natural hair movement has demanded social, political, and cultural acceptance of Black hair on a global scale. Particularly in the Hispanophone Caribbean, the natural hair movement has been a tool to not only promote the acceptance of curly, kinky hair but to combat Latin America’s anti-Blackness. I have found that although Black hair in the Hispanophone Caribbean is constantly compared to textures found in nature such as wool and pajón, it has also been regarded as unnatural. My work has been largely inspired by the essay “Beyond blanqueamiento: black affirmation in contemporary Puerto Rico,” in which Hilda Lloréns employs an affirmative anthropology framework to illustrate how Black Puerto Ricans maintain and affirm their Blackness in a racist society that works to reject and marginalize them. This is what I see as the contribution of my work to be: to highlight how nonfolkloric, contemporary literary affirmations of Blackness serve as an additional resistance strategy to counter blanqueamiento. In that spirit, I will be examining three recent literary works from Puerto Rico that center on the theme of Black hair and identity: the novel Good Hair, Bad Hair by Carmen L. Montañez (2016), the illustrated children’s book Pelo bueno by the renowned novelist Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro (2018), as well as three poems that will appear in Arroyo Pizarro’s forthcoming poetry collection Afrofeministamente, which were published online in March of 2020.
Dr. Alba Aragón, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Halina Adams, Committee Member
Dr. Emily D. Field, Committee Member
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Lopez, Amaryllis. (2020). Se dice pelo bueno: Black Affirmations in Contemporary Puerto Rican Literature. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 310. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/310
Copyright © 2020 Amaryllis Lopez