identities

Amara La Negra Is A Reminder That While Celia Cruz Was An Icon, Afro-Latinas Need More

Amara La Negra — that’s right, Princess of Tumbao — sat down with the fellas of Desus & Mero for an interview and dropped some major realness. In her latest interview, the Latina musician and breakout “Love & Hip Hop” star talked about the path she has taken to get where she’s at and the role self love has played.

Here are the top 5 moments that will make Afro-Latinas feel totally seen.

1. It’s caca that blackface still happens.

Love & Hip Hop: Miami / Giphy.com

As Amara explains in the interview, she has been around and well known in the Latino community for a while (just check her out from her days on “Sabado Gigante”!). Her presence went viral across the United States, however, after her debut on the premiere of Love & Hip-Hop: Miami.  Amara was introduced to a completely new audience after a heated confrontation with fellow cast member and producer Young Hollywood. That’s when people began to accuse her of blackface. Amara took her moment on Desus & Mero to breakdown the ignorance of the claims as well as the practice of blackface itself.  “When I talk about it, people are like, ‘oh it’s in you’re head, you know you’re being extra, shut up get over it,'” Amara told the co-hosts. “But, meanwhile, people are doing blackface.” She went on to explain that “In my country they’ll see blackface and it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a cultural thing, you go to la carnivals and you’ll see a whole bunch of girls do blackface.”

The talk highlighted the various issues of racism that continue to exist within the Latin community and thus why it is so crucial to include Afro-Latino representation in the media.

2. Celia Cruz was an icon, but we need more.

@beinglatino / Giphy.com

There’s no doubting the massive impact that Afro-Cuban singer and Queen of Tumbao Celia Cruz had on the world and its understanding of Latino culture. She’s an icon, and even though it has been 15 years since her death, her legacy is still very much alive for many of us. Still, as Amara points out in the interview, Cruz should not be the world’s only reference point for what it means to be an Afro-Latina. Particularly because we make up such a huge portion of the Latino community.

“There isn’t a Latin country where they don’t have Black people,” Amara explained. “But they never put us in a positive light nor do they mention us. So Celia Cruz was the one person that any time I turned on the TV that I was like, ‘oh my God, one day I can be like her, she’s like the only one.” Amara went on to emphasize the importance of including Afro-Latinas in the mainstream representation of Latinos. After all, we don’t all look like J.Lo or Shakira.

3. Be true to you.

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On the importance of never allowing others to paint your narrative, Amara underlined the need to ensure Afro-Latinos are allowed to be who we are. “Look however you want to look, do whatever makes you happy. I think everybody is so busy trying to fit in this box. “Be yourself do whatever makes you feel good.”

4. Afros are blessed.

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After Desus asks her what happened to her afro, which had been braided into tiny micros that topped her head, Amara teased him. “Now you miss it,” she laughed before explaining why she felt it was so vital to be able to change up her look on her terms.

“It’s so annoying because people will talk to me all of the time: ‘Amara, change your hair. We’re so sick of it.’ ‘Change it. You’re so annoying,’ ‘You’re so boring,’ ‘Oh, it’s nappy.’ ‘It’s dry,'” she said. “Everybody has a comment about my hair.”

After underlining the need for others to recognize that her hair is hers to do what she wants with, Amara explained why she loved rocking her afro in particular. “Its on my head. Why are you stressing? I always go back to my ‘fro because it’s where I feel more comfortable.”

5. Ámate!

@amaralanegraaln / instagram.com / Buzzfeed

When the three were finally done with the segment, Mero asked Amara if she had any final thoughts. “I know it’s corny, but love yourself,” she said. “But … Ámate! Ámate! Ámate!”

Now that’s a message we can get on board with.

Check out Amara’s interview below!


Read: Lauren Jauregui Is Shaping Up To Be Fifth Harmony’s Leading LGBTQ Advocate

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

Stay grateful you did not grow up in the era of Snapchat/ Instagram/ Facebook kids because you can delete but your recorded actions can still come back to bite. Cardi B knows the story. While the Afro-Latina queen of Trap isn’ making any apologies, the latest video to be dug up from her past is requiring her to give some answers.

Video of the singer, recalling a time in her life in which she felt forced to drug and rob men while seducing them has resurfaced.

Over the weekend, video of the “Money” rapper recalling how she used to drug and rob men resurfaced.

The video, which was recorded during an Instagram live broadcast, sees Cardi as she goes on a tearful verbal tirade about her past. This after, someone apparently questioned her success and accused her of not “putting in no fucking work.”

“I had to go ‘oh yeah, you wanna fuck me? Yeah yeah yeah let’s go to this hotel.’ And then I’d drug [expletivie] up and I’d rob them. That’s what I used to do.”

Users online were quick to comment.

“The fact that cardi b admitted to drugging and robbing men she would take back to a hotel for sex blows my mind,” wrote Twitter user @itsangelaa. “That’s not ‘keeping it real.’ that’s a crime.”

“I wonder what woulda happened if it were the other way round,” @BTSisthecauseo5 commented.

At the onset of the backlash, the rapper seemed to take the comments rather lightly.

The following day she also tweeted “IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE, IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE and I love it.”

On Tuesday, however, after users on Instagram and Twitter continued to simmer, she was forced to issue comment.

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In a post to her Instagram, the rapper responded to the comments about the video by saying: “I’m a part of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”


Read:After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

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Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

The year 2017 marks a time of major multilingual and multicultural musical collaborations. With Luis Fonsi’s remix of “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, climbing to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks, and J Balvin and Willy William’s remix for “Mi Gente,” featuring Beyoncé, making it to the No. 3 spot, the western music market is opening up to music in Spanish. But these aren’t the only collaborations bridging different cultures and genres. In the era of globalization, K-pop, short for Korean pop music, is an international phenomenon, and the genre is beginning to meld its addictive melodies with urban Latin pop. Evidence: K-pop boy band Super Junior’s recent collaboration with Leslie Grace.

Debuting in 2005, the fellas of Super Junior are the kings of Hallyu — the Korean wave. At their height, 15 men donned the Super Junior title, but, due to departures, mandatory military service and other issues, only Siwon, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Yesung, Heechul and Leeteuk are currently active. As a group, the men have led a revolution in the industry, spurring forward electro-pop and R&B-influenced dance tracks.

(Courtesy of Leslie Grace)

And among K-pop, they also have one of the strongest fan bases in Latin America. The group has long captivated these audiences with hits like “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple” and “Mamacita,” and Super Junior has made sure to visit their Latin American E.L.F — what they call their fans — on three separate tours since 2013, holding arena shows in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. It must be noted that the group has yet to hold a single solo show in the U.S.

For many years, Super Junior and SM Entertainment, their label, had seen the excitement from their supporters in Latin America and wanted to show their gratitude by releasing a song partly sung in Spanish. In March, the group dropped “Lo Siento,” a tune about finding romance on the dance floor, featuring Dominican-American singer Leslie Grace and the Latino production duo Play-N-Skillz as part of the extended version of their eighth album, Replay.  

“The song with Super Junior and Play-N-Skillz came out of nowhere. None of us really knew each other,” Leslie Grace, who was recommended to the K-pop group by the Argentine-Venezuelan sibling duo Play-N-Skillz, told FIERCE. “The beauty of it was [having the opportunity of] discovering something that’s been happening hugely in its own right in a different side of the world, and discovering it for the first time and saying, ‘Man, I wanna be a part of that. I don’t know anything about it up until this point, but I really want to be a part of that.’”

While it’s commonplace for K-pop groups to release records in Japanese or Mandarin in order to cater to Asian music markets, or English one-offs for international fans, no act had ventured into singing in Spanish or acknowledged their Latin American fans with a song quite like Super Junior.

“Lo Siento” is a true K-pop and urban Latin-pop mashup. It plays up the typical Spanish guitar and blends a familiar Latin flair with the energy and the mix of pop, dance and hip-hop that K-pop is known for. The music video, shot in South Korea, even features the “Díganle” singer dancing along with the guys of Super Junior.

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The trilingual track debuted at No. 13 on Billboard’s Latin digital sales chart, the first K-pop entry ever. A bit over two weeks after the music video dropped, “Lo Siento” surpassed 20 million views, which was three times more than what their last Korean single, “Black Suit,” accumulated.

While “Lo Siento” isn’t the first time K-pop artists have teamed up with Latin ones nor used Latin genres in their music, it is the first instance that we can actually call a real collaboration. In 2016, for instance, Ricky Martin released a version of his hit “Vente Pa’ Ca” featuring Wendy from K-pop girl group Red Velvet, though she sang in English, and Mexican boy band CD9 released “Get Dumb” with Korean girl group Crayon Pop. In both cases, the artists simply exchanged vocals, put them together and released the song with little fanfare. With “Lo Siento,” however, not only did Leslie fly to Korea to be in the music video, but Super Junior invited her and Play-N-Skillz on their Latin American tour last month.

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Stopping in Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Mexico City, Leslie, Play-N-Skillz and Super Junior played before a total of 55,000 fans. The stars blew up the stage with “Lo Siento,” but both Play-N-Skillz and Leslie also had the chance to perform their own sets during the show.

“It never stops being a surprise, with my most recent released single ‘Duro y Suave,’ for [the crowd] to sing it back to me,” the 23-year-old singer, who came to fame after the release of her bachata remake of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in 2013, told us. “I know it’s Super Junior’s crowd. I know that their fans are so accepting and loving, and I knew that they would be attentive during the show, but you don’t expect everyone to connect, especially a crowd that’s so different, to your music when you’re the special guest.”

Leslie is currently finishing her new album, which she says will drop by the end of the year. She’s also very excited about potentially finishing another leg of the tour with Super Junior. “They’re trying to see if we can do some more shows in Latin America, in Central America, go to the countries we didn’t get to go to in South America, like Colombia [and] Brazil,” she said.

Just like with “Despacito” and “Mi Gente,” “Lo Siento” is bringing together different cultures, languages and even fandoms from various parts of the world that don’t get to interact as much through music in a compact, smooth earworm.

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“For us to come together just fully based off of mutual artistic respect, and for something like this to happen, and now everybody really enjoying it despite the cultural differences, that to me was the biggest takeaway and the biggest blessing to now be a part of Super Junior’s story and them a huge part of mine,” Leslie said.  

During an interview in Times Square, the dominicana gave the boys a quick dance lesson — and it was all caught on camera.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkWSwsvhpta/?taken-by=lesliegrace

“Bridging cultures one dance step at a time! First Super Junior with me and ‘Group Dance’ in their land South Korea, and now me with them and ‘Bachata’ in my home NYC,” Grace, 23, captioned a video of the dance sesh she posted on Instagram. “Proud to be your instructor, @eunhyukee44 hahaha! You are officially baptized the best bachatero out of Korea by the princess of bachata — BOOM!”

Catch the whole thing above!

Read: Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

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