Cuban emigration in the post-Soviet period has largely been attributed to economic motivations, but without significant racial analysis. Moreover, little is known about how black Cubans on the island think about emigration. It is therefore imperative to re-examine how blacks, once cited as the Cuban Revolution's loyalists, make decisions today about remaining in Cuba and/or pursuing economic security outside of its borders. Using original survey data of black Cubans on the island, I find that economic motivations are prominent among black Cubans, but that these motivations can be multifaceted. In a study of black Cubans and emigration, the issue of increasing racial inequality and racial exclusion has significant influence on economic opportunity, which in turn influences the desire to leave Cuba to achieve economic and professional success. The results have implications for the ways in which we analyse migration throughout the Latin American region, where race has not been factored into why people migrate.