Amara La Negra has never been afraid to speak out about the need for more Afro-Latina representation in mainstream media. She continues to dominate the conversation surrounding Black Latinos and why it is important that we see Latinx people of all skin colors in our movies, television shows, and in our music culture. Now the VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Miami star is getting real with the ladies of FOX’s daytime talk show, The Real, and calling out the fact that we don’t see Latinas like her.
In the past, Amara La Negra has talked about how her mom helped her embrace her blackness and the way that colorism plays a role in her life, noting that her life is very different because she has darker skin. During the “ChitChat” segment on The Real, she once again questions why we don’t see more Afro-Latinas in the media. As an outspoken advocate for herself and better Latinx representation, we love what she has to say. Here are Amara La Negra’s nine most inspirational quotes about being Afro-Latina today.
1. On why we need more Afro-Latino representation.
“I’ve had it all. I mean, it’s hard because — and I always mention these women, they’re amazing women, and I admire them, I really do — but it’s unfortunate that when you talk about Latinos, you talk about Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Sofia Vergara, Thalia. You talk about these women that look a certain type of way but you never mention women that look like myself. And there isn’t a Latin country where you don’t have Afro-Latinos. Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Honduras, it doesn’t matter where you go, there’s black people. But why aren’t we portrayed in the magazines? Why aren’t we in movies? Why aren’t we in novelas or soap operas? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I represent what a Latina woman should look like? That’s really what bothers me. I feel that it’s sad for the new generation coming up because they don’t have anyone to admire within their own community that’s doing well. That they can be like: One day I want to be like her. There’s nothing, literally, they just act make it seem like we don’t exist.”
2. On how her mom helped her embrace her blackness.
“My mom is everything. She built me the way that I am and made sure that I always knew that my color was beautiful. She always would tell me, ‘Because of your color, you’re always going to have to work twice as hard to be recognized for your work.’ I never understood it until years later — and she was right.”
3. On her spar with Young Hollywood challenging her Afro-Latina label.
“All because of my looks or because I am dark-skinned. But, that doesn’t make me less Latina.”
4. On what Celia Cruz means to Afro-Latinas everywhere.
Rooting for Amara La Negra, she’s been working her whole life and it shows! Baby Amara and the legendary Celia Cruz 💕💕💕💕 pic.twitter.com/cdaXQXNODl
— La Pera, Pera 🍐 (@pompuda) January 3, 2018
“In the Latin community, she was the only Afro-Latino who made it worldwide, and she was like our Michael Jackson. Celia Cruz was the only Afro-Latino that looked like myself and made me think, ‘Oh my God. You know, when I grow up, I can be like her.'”
5. On embracing her natural hair.
“One hairstylist [on Sabado Gigante] told my mom one time she needed to perm my hair because it was unmanageable.” Eventually, she learned to actively reject the prejudices that plagued her early career. “I understood that I needed to love myself the way that I was.”
6. On no longer staying in the shadows when it comes to the problem of colorism.
“The concept is not the same. Even looking at social media, and reading the comments, I know I’m not the only one. Others have said, ‘We felt it, we just didn’t want to say anything. We felt comfortable staying in the shadows.’ I don’t. You have to take the good with the bad and I’ve been hit with backlash, but I’ll take it.”
7. On the difficulty of being Afro-Latina in today’s Latinx market.
“Being an Afro-Latina in the Latin market is particularly difficult because you essentially have to work twice as hard to prove yourself. As much as people want to say that racism is over and it doesn’t exist, it does, especially in the Latin market. When they talk about a Latina, they talk about Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez, Shakira even. But not anyone who looks like me, and I’m 100 percent, Latina.”
8. On ignoring the haters who don’t like her or her look.
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Throw as many Bricks and Stones at me as you’d like.. Iv been Thru so much in my life Im Solid like a Rock! In this World The Weak Wont Survive! My mom always said “You have to be Strong! “ Even if it means Crying and wiping off your tears to get back at it! The higher you go the more they will want to see you fall! A Very Wise man once said “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” With that being said.. Other Peoples negative opinions about me will never make me question who I am as a Person and my purposes in this World. Im too focused! Too ambitious! Too determined! #ALNnation #ALNsoldier #AmaraLaNegra
“It’s come to the point where I don’t even acknowledge when people look at me. I’ve learned to block the negativity in order to preserve my self-confidence.”
9. On her advice to other Afro-Latinas.
“My advice: Be proud of who you are. Be proud of the skin you’re in. You’re one in a million. There’s no other you, and you got to embrace that shit and rock out. Don’t try to fit in. Don’t try to mimic what you see in the magazines, ‘cause all of that is photoshopped anyway. Everything you see from mainstream media is bologna. It’s conditioned us to believe all of us women should look a certain way – our bodies, our hair. It’s bologna. Stop admiring how stars appear on the covers; direct your attention to who they are as people. And most of all, if you want something, go get it. You only have one life. The only thing we’re guaranteed is death.”