Afro-Latina Sarah La Morena – real name Sarah Palafox – became a viral sensation when she posted a video of herself singing along with a mariachi band. After she posted on Twitter she got love from Latinx celebs including Gael García Bernal and Sara Ramirez however she also received racist comments questioning her Latinidad.
Sarah was raised in Zacatecas, Mexico by adoptive parents and it’s their influence that she attributes to her love of music. She told BuzzFeed, “I grew up around it. In Mexico, they had music on all the time. Going to the store there was music, walking around outside there was music, and in church is where I actually started singing. Once I became super comfortable with who I was, I ventured out and started singing Mexican music.”
She shared with the publication that her parents received criticism from the Black and Latinx community when they adopted her telling Univision that would get asked “por que una morena?” She grew up helping her dad on the ranch in Zacatecas tending to cows, goats, and pigs. “They’ve just created so many opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have had, and I just want people to see that, and what good can come from us uniting and us joining forces. We’re fighting the same battle, we have so many people against us already, why do we add to that?”
Despite some hateful and racists comments she’s not letting them stop her from pursuing her dream of singing the kind of music she grew up loving.
— Sarah Palafox (@sarahlamorenaa) September 10, 2020
“I love all music but these rancheras and norteña they really get to me and I just love singing. My goal is to unite us because I feel like I got the best of both worlds and it makes me really sad when Blacks and browns are so divided and I feel like there’s no need for that,” she told The Cruz Show.
She shared with Univision that she grew up singing in church in Mexico and now the California-based singer is releasing two EPs. She released videos for her tracks “Tristes Recuerdos,” “Renunciacion” and “Hasta La Miel Amarga” and according to Buzzfeed she’s finishing up the last two songs on her first EP, and plans to work on a second EP soon, both of which will have different genres.
Last year the mother of a baby boy shared a video of her singing a song she dedicated to her parents with the caption “A gift to my parents con mucho amor, thank you for choosing me to be your daughter.”
Afro-Latinx in the regional Mexican music industry remains a rarity so the significance of Sarah’s music extends to the Afro-Mexican community as a whole as they fight for recognition.
“I just feel like my music alone and people watching my music videos just shows that barriers can be broken no matter how long they’ve been there,” she told Buzzfeed.