Entertainment

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: Amara La Negra / Facebook

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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”

CREDIT: @radio_dlovato / Twitter

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

“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.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. CheekyWiki. 29 November 2018.

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Twitter

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraaLN / Instagram

“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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraLN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: IMDB

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

“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.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

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.


READ: WATCH: Amara La Negra Keeps It Real About What She Looks For In A Romantic Partner

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Que Bonita bandera 🇵🇷

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

Culture

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

tamaleselenayantojitos / Instagram

The Los Angeles food truck Tamales Elena y Antojitos has been serving up authentic Guerrero food for 20 years. Tamales Elena y Antojitos is a staple at E 110th St. & Wilmington Ave. in LA’s Watts neighborhood offering up banana leaf-wrapped tamales. Now, Tamales Elena y Antojitos will become a restaurant.

Tamales Elena y Antojitos is opening up LA’s first Afro-Mexican restaurant.

Not even a pandemic will slow them down. The family behind the famous food truck in Watts will soon be welcoming guests (following COVID-19 guidelines) in Bell Gardens, California. The tamales, pozoles, and array of Afro-Mexican dishes will be served to everyone who has come to adore the Mexican establishment.

The restaurant will add another cuisine to the vast palate that is LA’s food scene.

Los Angeles is home to a diverse and inviting list of restaurants representing cultures from around the world. Some of the best Mexican food in the country can be found in Los Angeles and Tamales Elena y Antojitos is adding another level to that representation. Angelenos are celebrating the Afro-Mexican restaurant staffed and owned by Afro-Mexicans.

The restaurant has a special place in people’s lives.

The family has been offering up their unique food to residents of Watts for 20 years. In two weeks, Maria Elena Lorenzo will be offering up her family recipes in-store to more people as of July 15. The family has spent years in the food industry and have worked hard to make their mark on LA’s food scene.

Lorenzo’s daughters have been played a big role in getting the restaurant going.

According to LA Eater, Lorenzo’s daughters have spent years working in various restaurants around Los Angeles. Her daughters, Maria, Heidi, Judepth, Teresa, and Nayeli spent time working front-of-house and back-of-house at restaurants including Rivera, Petty Cash Taqueria, and Guerrilla Tacos. Heidi Irra worked at Mezcalero in downtown Los Angeles. Now, the daughters are bringing their experience to the family business and helping their mother start her restaurant.

Lorenzo, lovingly known as Mama, is clearly going to have a lot of guests are her restaurant.

Congratulations, Mama! This is one of those stories we love to see. Nothing makes you prouder than watching Latino families come together to chase the American Dream and succeed.

READ: Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

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