She was born Dana Danelys De Los Santos. These days, she struts around with her sass and confidence, known to many as Amara La Negra. Ms. La Negra’s image centers around her blackness and it has social media both surprised yet left educated about how the Latin community has such a bad history with colorism.
Usually, where there is a history of bondage such as slavery, there is going to be a history of classism and yes, colorism.
Most people are just now taking notice of Ms. La Negra as a cast member of the new installment of the Love & Hip Hop series “Love and Hip Hop Miami” which also stars Miami-born and based rappers Trina and Trick Daddy. La Negra has been on TV when she was younger. For six years, she appeared on Univision every Saturday as a cast member of Sabado Gigante. According to Ms. Amara, she was the only black girl and she was either placed in the middle or the back.
When we were introduced to La Negra, we were immediately introduced to the fact that she is “100% Dominicana and proud of it”. She wears her hair in an Afro. She is also dark skinned. Most times, when we think of Latinos, we think of lighter complexioned Latinos such Jennifer Lopez, Shakira or even Marc Anthony. La Negra is ready to put an end to that stereotype.
Her experiences as a darker skinned Latina is no different than the experiences that her African-American female counterparts deal with in America. She has dealt with the “pretty for a black girl” comments. She has given credit to the book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” for inspiring her, putting her black identity front and center.
Don’t call it a come up. La Negra isn’t only known for her appearance as a cast member on Love & Hip-Hop. Unless you are very familiar with the Latin music industry, you may not know who “Amara La Negra” is. She released her single “Quitate La Ropa” in 2012. She also has singles titled “Pa’Tu Cama Ni Loca” and “Se Que Soy” which focus on sexuality and female empowerment. These are issues that she has had to fight, being both black and a woman.
When the Miami installment of “Love & Hip Hop” premiered on New Year’s Day, the show wasted no time bringing in touchy issues. We were introduced to a young latin producer named Young Hollywood. He is a light skinned, latino producer. We can guess he is (or was) respected in the latin community. There is a scene on the show where he immediately goes in on Amara, refers to her confidence as “intense”. He even calls her “Nutella Queen”, mocks her pride by putting up the “Black Power” fist. What caught most people eyes and ears was when he tells her that she should go for a look that’s “more Beyonce and less Macy Gray” insinuating that an Afro is not what the industry wants in an artist. Amara responds and questions what he means by his comments. In response, he tried to gaslight her, making her look abnormal for having a reaction to his harsh words.
Social media, particularly twitter, blew up to Young Hollywood’s public but not new reaction to Amara La Negra’s pride in herself. Some people took to instagram to bash Young Hollywood. People even expressed to not knowing how far the issue of colorism went in the Latin community. When thinking of colorism in the Latin community, one should remember what happened in Brazil when the famous “Globaleza Festival” took place. A woman named Nayara Justino, who was dark skinned, was crowned as carnival queen in 2013. Justino had her title stripped because people complained that she was ‘too dark’. The title was later presented to a lighter skinned woman.
Amara is busting the issue of colorism wide open. We should all be here for it. This is not a new issue, which is why Amara may make some people uncomfortable with her commentary of her experience.
The first episode of Love & Hip Hop Miami is just that, the first. It’s the beginning. There is a lot of Miami left. We will see what becomes of Amara La Negra throughout the show. Music news outlets, such as Billboard, released an article that Amara La Negra was offered a multi-deal record deal. On her upcoming album, she won’t be working with Young Hollywood, so she won’t be referred to as “Nutella Queen”. Instead, she will work with producers Rock City who are the minds behind Miley Cyrus and Rihanna.
With a little noise, Amara La Negra is slowly silencing her critics. So keep talking, Amara La Negra. Keep talking. We’re listening.
You can catch Ms. Amara on “Love & Hip Hop Miami” every Monday at 9pm ET on VH1.