Bubbles Darlene poses with the costume she wore in 1956 in Havana and which caused a scandal in an image of 'Chachachá: Un Baile y Una Época' (Gladys Palmera).
In the summer of 1956, a woman decided to go for a walk in Havana like Debbie Reynolds in
Singing in the Rain,
But with one caveat: under the transparent raincoat he only wore the bottom of his underwear.
Bubbles Darlene was an exuberant American dancer who showed her routine in the Cuban night in the light of day, and justified herself to the agent with the song of
The lyrics speak of a woman with fake curves, made of padding.
"How stupid women are! / That they try to deceive us", sings Enrique Jorrín, to end the opinion that "no one looks at her / no one sighs".
She expressed her reply: “I don't need fillers and I went to show the world that what the song says is not applicable to all girls.
So I went out like that.
I didn't think that the Cubans would care. "
The fine was 200 pesos (almost 7 euros).
This is one of the stories collected by
Chachachá: Un Baile y Una Época,
the first book under the seal of the
Gladys Palmera, the largest record archive of Cuban and Afro-Latin music in the world.
In its 416 pages it brings together more than 800 covers, posters and full-color photographs of the golden age of Latin music in the middle of the last century, with curiosities written by Carlos Aranzazu, Tommy Meini and José Arteaga.
The latter, a Colombian journalist, maintains that sometimes music books are more than that: “This is a book of art, design, photography, illustration, collection, melomania.
It has many readings and allows you to make interpretations about something that happened and has a huge impact on modern culture, on color, on clothing ... ”.
When they were doing the research, they discovered that cha-cha - a word that can be written in different ways - is something that takes over everyday language.
“A search on the internet reveals that it could be the name of a horse, a perfume or some shoes.
It does not necessarily refer to music ”, he explains.
Among the stories that Arteaga collects for the book, he dedicates a chapter to women in the cha-cha.
"It has an important role," he says.
“Before, records came in bags and what mattered was what they sounded like.
Over time, designers, producers and record company owners set their sights on a number of graphic elements.
One of them was the presence of women;
drawn, dancing, posing, as an attractive character ... Also in a strong, individual attitude, with a leading presence ”, he assures, adding that, although it continues to be an example of stereotypes, from then on it begins to leave behind a macho past.
That feminine empowerment is transmitted by Bubbles Darlene with her protest against
The song talked about a bra to highlight the bust.
Behind that there was a sense of humor, but the cha-cha was also transcendent - as today is
or reggaeton - and it invaded everything.
She was convinced that the portrait of the deceiver had nothing to do with her directly, but with people like her.
He assumed that role and began to walk down the street and attract attention.
On the one hand it is humorous and on the other it is romantic, it shows that people were taking it seriously ”.
As Arteaga describes in
Chachachá: Un Baile y Una Época,
in the barracks, an agent insisted on his question.
-Where are you from?
Art has no borders.