The Love & Hip Hop franchise introduced the masses to K. Michelle, Cardi B and now Amara La Negra, who is the breakout star of the show. The beautiful, vivacious singer has captured America’s attention with a fresh and authentic storyline.
Although she’s of Dominican heritage, Amara La Negra says African Americans have embraced her with incredible love.
“Even though… I come from a Latin background and my culture is different, [African Americans] know the feeling of being seen differently or not being given the same opportunities, based off the way they look and their skin color and textures of hair and everything else,” said Amara in an exclusive interview with theGrio‘s Natasha Alford. “So I feel that somewhat they can relate, they understand the struggles of how I feel.”
“Even on Love & Hip Hop when I was told, ‘Why are you so black and proud? What is this about? Are you Afrolatina because you have an afro or because you’re African?'”
“The Latino community understood as well, and the Caucasians- whoever did support or understood, also embraced my situation. So I’m very grateful for that.”
Amara’s portrayal on the show is a nice touch for the franchise which is often criticized for fake storylines and negative depictions of African Americans and people of color. The singer is tackling colorism, shedding light on the smoke and mirrors of the industry, and showcasing her lovingly honest relationship with her mom.
“I am so grateful that Mona (Scott Young) allowed me to use her platform not just promote my music on Love and Hip Hop and who I am as a person, but to also bring light to issues like the Afro-Latino community. I feel we have been ignored for so long. We have been told ‘no’ for so long and just taken it,” she said.
Amara has been open about her most inspirational influence Celia Cruz, a Cuban-American singer, who was considered the most popular Latin star of the 20th century before she passed away. Cruz and Amara La Negra shared melanin rich skin complexions opposite of other famous Latin artists such as J.Lo and Shakira.
As Amara navigates her career from Latin star to crossover American star, she has faced adversity about her appearance. LHH Miami castmate, Young Hollywood told her she needed a look that was “less Macy Gray and more Beyonce,” which brought renewed attention to colorism in the entertainment industry.
“This is not just Black or white. This colorism issue is happening everywhere, all over the place. No one wants to talk about it. Everybody just wants to be like it’s cool, we have come along way,” Amara said.
Despite the opposition Amara has faced in her career so far, she is gaining a supportive American fan base through Love & Hip Hop: Miami. The singer radiates the screen with her beauty, passion, talent, and love for her mom.
“I really wanted show people this is me and I don’t feel the need to fake. I’m buying all these expensive clothes that I can’t afford and I’m trying to fit in. People want to see what they see on social media the luxurious cars, the furs, the bags, etc. But, realistically a lot of these celebrities don’t have they type of money,” Amara said.
“You borrow things, you layaway stuff, you put it on and the moment you finish they take it away. I want to show you guys my mom works in a kitchen and I am not rich. I am normal. I am working towards my dreams, but I am not there yet.”
Amara’s authenticity and vulnerability resonates with people of all ages and ethnicities. It also led to a major record deal with Fast Life Entertainment Worldwide and BMG.
Her latest single, ‘What A Bum Bum’ is buzzing showing off her fun side and her vocal skills. She is booked and busy with a new single, ‘Insecure’ dropping soon,’ a EP in the works, and working with CoverGirl cosmetics.
Amara La Negra proves that when you couple talent with perseverance, self-worth, and a loving, supportive foundation those are the tools you need to make your dreams come true.
Chalise Macklin is writer and producer who has contributed to theGrio, Black Enterprise and Kontrol Magazine. She is an adjunct professor at Arkansas State University.