Gabriella Blanco/ Contributing Writer
On Jan. 1, 2018, VH1 premiered their fourth installment of their “Love and Hip Hop” franchise and for South Floridians, this one is the most exciting since it was filmed right in our own backyard.
“Love and Hip Hop: Miami” follows the same formula of other shows in the “Love” franchise and features the lives and works of up-and-coming artists in the hip hop industry as they work their way to the top and deal with the trials and tribulations that come with trying to make it big.
Being set in Miami, it should go without saying that some of the talent featured in the series are from Latin backgrounds, which isn’t new for the show. However, if you’re from Miami, your ethnicity or personal experience from the Latin community is almost unmatched compared to other parts of the country.
Being Latinx goes hand-in-hand with being from Miami at this point. But, they don’t seem to really understand just what being Latinx is or what it looks like.
In “Love and Hip Hop: Miami,” we are introduced to a Dominican artist named Amara. A child star who got her start on Univision’s “Sábado Gigante,” Amara made it into the hip hop world with her powerful beats, lyrics and pride in her roots.
The kicker, though? Amara is Afro-Latina.
Going by the stage name “Amara La Negra,” Amara makes it a point with her look and with her music that being black is just as important to her as being Latina is, which is such a breath of fresh air because of how blatantly racist the community can be.
There are people who, to this day, can’t understand how someone can be both black and Latinx or that Latinx is not a race. This leads to the entire Afro-Latinx identity to be scrutinized and even mocked to the point that those who happen to be a black-Latinx grow up loathing that side of themselves or hiding it away in order to be accepted by their communities.
That is so, so wrong.
I, as an Afro-Cuban, am proud to see Amara, who rocks an incredible afro, openly talk about the hatred that exists over who she is, then go on about how she is embracing it to show others like her that they should be proud of who they are.
That is why I was enraged when Latin Trap producer Elijah “Young Hollywood” Sarraga appeared to make anti-black statements about Amara La Negra. Young Hollywood could be heard saying Amara needed to be “more Beyoncé less Macy Gray” in order to work with her on music, and he stated she can’t be “elegant” with an Afro hairstyle.
“You’re just a little intense about this whole ‘African thing,'” Sarraga told Amara, according to The Maven. He later sarcastically referred to her as a “Nutella Queen.” The music producer even wenton to say that the industry is ultimately looking for “cookie-cutter poster” children.
In response, Amara reminds him that all Latinos don’t look the same. In fact, it’s an ethnicity with a rich racial diversity.
“Not all Latinas look like J.Lo or Sofía Vergara or Shakira, so where are the women that look like myself?” she asked, according to Huffington Post.
After the confrontation, Amara stated how she is “…extremely proud of [her] brown skin. [She] proud of [her] color, of the way [her hair] hair curls. [She] proud of who [she is], and nobody’s gonna take that away from [her],” according to the Huffington Post.
These are powerful words to live by. A mantra and a cry to all other Afro-Latinxs. And I can only hope that as Amara grows into mainstream, following her new record deal, that the shrinkage going on isn’t with our ‘fros but with the abhorrence in the community and in the numbers of people like Elijah Sarraga.
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