Amara La Negra, the Dominican-American singer and performer whose career got an early start on Sabado Gigante, has taken her journey as an aspiring crossover artist to the VH1 show “Love & Hip Hop Miami.”
But so far, Amara’s music has taken a backseat to controversy. Most of the drama has to do with her identity as Afro-Latina.
In a recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, a popular syndicated radio talk show, Amara La Negra used the platform to educate the masses on what it means to be black and Latina.
After expressing her appreciation for being on the show, Amara La Negra was cut off by radio host Charlemagne tha God who immediately wanted Amara to define her identity.
“Well what are you?” he asked.
It’s only a little (read: extremely) ridiculous, because one would think he (or an intern) would do research on guests. The interview went downhill from there. When Amara explains the discrimination she faces as a dark-skinned Latina, host Charlamagne the God has these words: “I don’t even see that in Hollywood anymore. I feel like times have changed a lot.” (Because he is a dark-skinned Latina, his opinion on the topic is very important.)
Amara held her composure, while basically throwing a book at Charlamagne tha God and his fellow radio host DJ Envy.
Here are some highlights from Amara’s interview:
ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN RACE AND NATIONALITY: “How we see ‘black’ here in the United States is different. You think ‘black,’ you think African-American. See for us in the Dominican Republic, because we’re all Dominican, you only have but to say ‘You’re black.'”
ON HOW SOME LATINOS CHOOSE TO IDENTIFY: “Well because if you’re Puerto Rican, that’s what you are. If you’re Dominican, that’s what you are and you want to rep what you are or where you come from. That’s pretty much how it is.”
ON HER IDENTITY: “I can say I’m Latina — even if I had an Afro, didn’t have an Afro — I mean I’m still Afro-Latina because I’m from African descent. So that’s what it is.”
ON HER HAIR: “Yes, I naturally have an afro. I enhance it by using extensions because it’s kind of hard to have a perfect afro 24/7. (Charlemagne then fans her Afro with a stack of papers, saying he’s just trying to see if it will blow off. RUDE) But I do have an afro. I love my ‘fro … I just feel more comfortable like this. I think it goes more with my personality.”
ABOUT RUMORS THAT SHE IS ACTUALLY IN BLACK FACE: “It’s really sad the fact that I even have to answers these questions. The fact that I have to feel as if I have to prove myself because every single part of me is being questioned. Just because I feel there’s a lot of ignorance when it comes to Afro-Latinos.”
ON THE PREVALENCE OF BLACK PEOPLE THROUGHOUT LATIN AMERICA: “We come is so many different shades that it’s like why is it so hard for people to understand or accept me? … There isn’t a Latin country that doesn’t have people that look like me.”
ON INSULTS ABOUT HER LOOK: “Unfortunately, I almost feel like because I’ve heard it so many times, you know, there’s this part of me that felt like I don’t even want to be mad at you. I just feel like I should educate you about it.”
ON THE IDEA THAT DARK-SKINNED PEOPLE CAN’T HAVE LIGHT EYES: “That is not true. It depends where you’re coming from. When you go to my country there are so many different people that look like myself, different shades, different features that to me it’s not surprising, but out here it’s supposed to be like ‘Oh my God. What species are you?'”
ON “ACTING BLACK”: “(He said) I’m just trying to act black. Whatever that means. What exactly is acting black? I’m not sure what that is.”