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This article explores the antiracist strategies of Bola de Nieve, one of Cuba’s most renowned yet understudied Afrodescendant musicians of the 1930s Afrocubanista movement, to better understand the power and limitations of music as a platform to subvert racist structures. The article reinterprets the possibilities Afrocubanismo enabled for Afrodescendant artists, arguing that it allowed for greater antiracist oppositionality than previously thought. Moreover, the work challenges previous assumptions of Bola de Nieve as an Uncle Tom. It unveils the ways in which Bola de Nieve’s music was constitutive of Cuban society’s racial dynamics. His performances worked as key sites where meanings of music, race, and national imaginaries articulated in powerful ways, expanding the roles and spaces of Afrodescendant performance. Through music, the artist resisted society’s efforts to reduce him into confined social categories of race and nation.

Open Access
In: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids
In: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids