Amara la Negra Is The Afro-Latina Entertainer Everyone Needs To Know About
We all know Amara La Negra from her Spanish-language fame and explosive entrance into English-language Hollywood in Love & Hip Hop: Miami. She’s become an Afro-Latina icon and is beloved in hip-hop, Latin, Dominican and feminist circles. Yet, her appearance on film, television and the charts since a young child hasn’t earned her a Wikipedia page yet.
There are a lot people who don’t know about her and need to.
Her real name is Diana Danelys De Los Santos.
She took on the name Amara La Negra, which means “love the black woman.” She’s pointed out how the Spanish language has a million indirect names for black people and she took on the name as a stake in her pride to be a black woman.
Amara was raised in Miami by her single mother.
Her mom is everything to her. She grew up in a single parent house and her mom worked five jobs to pay for her dance, modeling and singing lessons. Her mom is a chef and Amara told mitú that she never let Amara in the kitchen for fear she would love cooking and become a chef.
To this day, she doesn’t know how to ride a bike or swim.
The 28-year-old singer has openly said that her childhood revolved around her future. She was in dance classes Monday through Friday and just didn’t have time to learn those things.
When she was just four years old, she won a spot in Univision’s Sábado Gigante TV program.
She told NPR that for the six years she was on the show, she was the only dark-skinned kid cast. She felt like she was always either in the back of the stage or dead center in the middle “like a bug in the middle of a cup of milk.”
Amara always wanted to be like Celia Cruz.
She told Latino USA, “Growing up, I never saw anyone who looked like me besides Celia Cruz. She was such a strong, powerful woman. She was a very inspirational person.”
She faced more racism in the Dominican Republic than in the U.S. when it came to her rise to fame.
Caption: “Whenever I get Tired of my journey I Remind myself of All the Dreams I promised my mom I would accomplish. All the things I promised her I Would buy her. A Big House, Nice Cars… I promised her id take care of her and she’d never have to work again. All I care is to make her proud. In this journey of life I have sacrificed so much because of my determination and focus. I was Born Doing this and I Refuse to Fail.”
“Now that I’m on the cover of People magazine and whatnot, all of sudden, I’m the Dominican Republic’s biggest pride”
In a Rolling Stone interview, she recounts her relationship to the Dominican Republic and how, she “said for years people didn’t support me…and now they’re eating me up alive for saying it. There are headlines that read, ‘Amara is against the Dominican Republic, against la patria.’ Like, WTF? I’m always proud, I’m always waving the flag, and I’m forever grateful to those who did support me.”
She first visited the Domincan Republi when she was 18 years old.
She goes back more often now, and recently shared her last trip to the Domincan Republic where she taught her little cousin how to “Milly Rock.” Her parents are from San Cristóbal, and you can spot framed photos of her childhood Univision career on tía’s walls if you follow her story.
The lack of representation is her motivation to succeed.
“There is still a lot of ignorance surrounding the Afro-Latino community, and it has given me all the reason to want to keep fighting for it,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Somewhere along the way, I started to feel this energy in my body – this need to empower other women, this need to liberate people. This need to talk. Why isn’t anybody saying anything?”
After Young Hollywood questioned Amara La Negra’s blackness on Love & Hip Hop, she sparked a new conversation about Afro-Latinidad.
Young Hollywood straight up told Amara to be “a little less Macy Gray and a little more Beyoncé” and questioned whether her afro is her natural hair, calling it a “costume.” She just walked out of the room.
Amara even took to Instagram to show her mother unbraiding her hair after taking out her extensions to prove her blackness.
Young Hollywood apologized on camera but in a later interview with AfterBuzzTV, refused to call her an Afro-Latina, saying that he doesn’t “see the color.” As in, he also refused to acknowledge the racism that she receives that he doesn’t experience.
Amara continued the conversation in an ASMR video with Fuse TV.
She embraces her black body and Latino culture in a way that we need more of in this world. She continues to push the envelope when taling about her ethnicity and heritage.
Amara’s read the research and wants to heal the Afro-Latino community.
Afro-Dominican Tufts researcher, Adolfo Cuevas, has uncovered how Afro-Latinos are more likely to have more health issues and higher levels of depression, along with making less money than white Latinos at the same level of education.
Amara thinks positive representation can heal and is starting with her very own children’s book.
Caption: “The book includes three personal stories, centered around the themes of ambition, inspiration, and personal motivation, which are intended to spread positivity. Being able to spread the word of motivation and love is important, especially to children at a young age. Teaching them certain things in life such as self-love, motivation, goals and trusting your parents.”
“Amarita’s Way” is already achieving its destiny.
“Representation is key. Just like we have all these amazing princesses from Disney, and we have Dora the Explorer, I feel that we need an Amarita.” Amara told PEOPLE. Follow @AmaraLaNegraaLN to see reposts of little brown girls seeing themselves (finally) in children’s books.
Amara is even narrating an animated TIDAL series called Footprints.
The whole series focuses specifically on Afro-Latino Music icons (see: Cardi B, Celia Cruz, etc.). The series celebrates Latino blackness in what we’re pretty sure is the first major production on the subject to date. We hope Young Hollywood will be watching.
Fans are screaming for her role in Hollywood’s Fall Girls, coming out in 2019.
IMDB just released the trailer and it looks iconic. Three African-American women party all night with their rich, white boss only to find out in the morning that she died. The three pretend that she’s still alive while they try to solve the murder themselves to avoid becoming the police’s fall girls.
Amara’s first love is singing, but she’s even released her own fashion line.
You’ll only find fierce, full-bodied black women modeling the t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and swimwear that Amara sells. Representation everywhere, please.
She’s even a certified Zumba instructor.
She started getting active with Zumba to lose weight and eventually lost close to 100 pounds! Obviously, her body doesn’t quit and we hope it never does.
Amara is decidedly here to elevate Afro-Latinos, not as a separate entity, but to be truly represented as Latino in Hollywood.
“You should never ever feel that you need to change the way you are to succeed,” she told NPR. “As far as my skin and my color, I’m over it. Y’all gotta love me the way that I am. Period. That’s not gonna change.”
Thank you for existing in the spotlight for us, Amara.
Caption: “Caption This.” Amara is everything. She’s got a sense of humor like no other, grace, humility, ferocity in the face of ignorance. She’s everything I want to be and more.
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