As a Black woman in America, it is insurmountably prevalent how color-ism can affect me daily. I am a woman whose skin dwells on the heinously named ‘darker side’; however, as a cigar aficionado, I’ve seen how deep into the psyche it has seeped.
Cigars, like the men and women of Black and Brown communities, come in many tastes, shapes, and colors. In my experiences as a cigar consumer and as the founder of Novelty Cigar Bar, and the Ms. Novelty Experience, I have found that cigars wrapped in leaves of darker tones like Maduro and Oscuro are often left on humidor shelves longer than those of the classic light gold or mid-tone shades.
Darkness, dark tones, and blackness; don’t always have the sleek connotation we connect with in fashion. It is often portrayed as dirty, dangerous, bold, and abysmal. As people, we shy away from danger, from things deemed too bold, and find safety in the middle. This unfortunate programming leads to a conundrum in the cigar world because while a darker wrapper may offer a more compelling finish to a cigar, one has to formulate based on what ‘the people’ will see and want. A decision may have to be made to forego taste and substance for higher consumption.
I want my cigar tribe and others to dare to be bold. Dare to step outside the confines of ancestral teachings that cause one to fear someone or something that doesn’t share your hue. Dare to stop being jaded by the lighter lens and embrace every shade of glory that this world, its people, and our lives offer. I guarantee you. There is more abundant living. Embrace it.