While attending Yale University in the 00’s, New School faculty member Robin Hayes, like many students of color, felt like an outcast at the elite institution.
Hayes and her peers found common ground in their desire to assert their identities at the predominantly white, affluent university, forming a “Black Resistance Reading Group.” They also wanted to see how revolution lived. So, they took a field trip to Cuba, filming their experiences along the way.
The homemade recording became the basis for Hayes film, Black and Cuba, which will be screened at the Museum of the Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora in Brooklyn on Saturday, February 13, 7-10 p.m. To RSVP to the event, visit the MoCADA website (the film recently premiered at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture in Harlem).
Based on Beautiful Me(s): Finding our Revolutionary Selves in Black Cuba, a short documentary Hayes directed following the Cuba trip, Black and Cuba follows the group through enthralling scenes of life in the island nation, including hip-hop performances, block parties, and candid encounters with Afro-Cuban youth. As they film, the young travelers discover connections between Cuban and American perspectives on human rights, race, and revolution.
“Freedom to travel to Cuba is particularly important to African Americans,” Hayes, an assistant professor of Nonprofit Management and Urban Policy, told Indiewire recently. “The cultural and political ties that bind Afro-Cubans and African Americans have been critical to civil rights activism in both countries.”