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.
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.
CREDIT: @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.
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.
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.”
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.