Amara La Negra And Her Issue With Colorism

Amara La Negra And Her Issue With Colorism

Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?
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A few weeks ago a scene from "Love and Hip Hop: Miami" went viral. Record producer Young Hollywood completely showed his ass in a meeting with Dominican singer and actress, Amara La Negra. Basically, the two scheduled a meeting to discuss Amara's crossover into the American hip hop market, but seemingly unknown to her, Young Hollywood's focus was not going on her singing, but instead on her hair.

In the clip that lasts about 2:17, Young Hollywood is seen grilling Amara about her hair, and suggests that in order for her records to sell in English, she may need to tone down her "blackness." He mentions that she should try something different with her hair and later elaborates by suggesting braids or straightening it. Then when Amara goes on to say that as an Afro-Latina, she embraces her natural hair and see's no issue with continuing to wear her Afro, the producer, clearly confused, asks if she refers to herself as an Afro-Latina because she is African or because she has an Afro. According to Amara, before the scene was edited for television, the producer went as far as to tell her that her hair was too "nappy," and not "elegant" and asked why it was "like that." He then called her a "nutella queen," and told her that if she wanted to be successful she needed to be less "Macy Gray" and more "Beyonce."

More recently Amara La Negra appeared on "The Breakfast Club" where she was asked about her conversation with Young Hollywood, and complete madness ensued. Moments after the show went live, Charlamagne Tha God popped off his first question. "What are you?" And I just knew the interview was headed downhill from there. The second question came from DJ Envy. "What is an Afro-Latina?" To which Amara had to explain, probably for the a-millionth time, an Afro-Latinx is a Latinx of African decent. Now, for a small second after that, Angela Yee actually said and did something that didn't play into the complacent stance she always takes on touchy subjects and reminded the men that when Dascha Polanco, who is also Dominican, was on the show, all of this was explained to them.

Angela Yee then brought up the issue of people thinking that Amara was in black-face. After addressing the rumors that her skin color wasn't actually her skin color, Amara then went into speaking about her experience as an Afro-Latina in the entertainment industry, both in the Latin market and the American market and how a lot of people in the U.S aren't used to hearing people of darker complexions or who appear African American speak Spanish. She likened the ignorance to the lack of Afro-Latinx in mainstream media.

From there the interview went fine until Charlamagne then asked Amara to describe what "exactly" her struggle is. She explained the issue of colorism and how the lighter Latinx are usually the ones we see in the media and the darker Latinx, like herself, have a hard time getting into the business because of the way they look. This is when the interview took a left. DJ Envy interrupted by saying that, he simply didn't see what she was talking about, and Charlamagne went on to ask if she thought this was all in her head. He then brought up the success of Cardi B, and this is where Afro Latina's and Black women raised their eyebrows in unison.

So, for anyone who needs clarification on what Amara was saying, here you go. The main subject of this interview was the color of her skin and its connection to her Latin heritage. The first point she was trying to make is that there aren't a lot of dark-skinned Latinx in the Latin market and because of that, it was harder for her to become successful. In 2018, she is probably one of few (if not the only) entertainer of her caliber and success that looks the way she looks IN THE LATIN MARKET. When you turn on Latin channels, watch Latin movies or read Latin magazines, there aren't too many people of her skin tone. This is due to the issue of colorism in Latin America and the Latin parts of the Caribbean.

The second point that she made, is that now trying to cross over into the American market, many are confused by her look, so she faces a different manifestation of the same issue. While it's easier for her to be accepted (by Black people, at least) most Americans simply aren't used to seeing dark-skinned entertainers who speak or entertain in Spanish. And therefore, she was told to "unblacken" her look as a way to resemble more of the cookie-cutter Hispanic entertainer...i.e Jennifer Lopez, or Sofia Vergara. Basically, Afro-Latinx are told, if you're gonna be Black, be Black, and if you're gonna be Hispanic, be Hispanic, but that thing in the middle? Nah.

Somehow Cardi B's name got thrown in as Charlamagne insisted that her issue wasn't a real issue because Cardi is also now famous. Whether or not you like Cardi B and her music is a non-issue in this conversation about colorism. Here are the two things that Charlamagne and DJ Envy would have understood had they not consistently interrupted Amara. A. Cardi B became famous in the American market BEFORE the Latin market accepted her. Which proves the point Amara was trying to make. While Cardi is not considered "dark" for American standards, she is for Latin standards especially being as that she is bi-racial with a Trinidadian mother. And though she embraces her Dominican roots and is fluent in Spanish, she had to prove her monetary value in America, before the Latin music scene would touch her. Amara's second point is that Cardi B is a LOT lighter than her. Both are Dominican, but Cardi B's image (despite her previous set of teeth) falls much more easily into America's beauty standards. Her skin is fairer and she doesn't wear an Afro. Had Cardi been the one in the room with Young Hollywood, she probably wouldn't have been referred to as a "nutella queen."

From there the situation got messy and unfortunately Cardi B's, younger sister felt as if her big sis needed some sort of defending in this non-attack. Hennessy Carolina posted this underneath a clip of Amara's interview on "The Breakfast Club's" Instagram page, and then later deleted it (after a sea of people explaining to her the concept of colorism and that Amara said nothing to discredit Cardi, no doubt.)

"Ivy Farguheson, describes experiencing anti-Black racism from other Latinos who assumed she was African-American and told her that she wasn’t really Latina. All three women acknowledge the role media plays in showing (or rather, not showing) the diverse beauty that exists within the Latin community. Vianessa Castanos says, “It’s like we do not exist… It’s frustrating to see the same stereotypical image of the fair skinned or slightly tanned Latina with long straight hair.”

A lot of people on Instagram were quick to point out to Hennessy Carolina that not only did she falsely accused Amara of coming for her sister, but she had completely missed the point, and that it was actually Charlamange who brought Cardi B's name into the conversation.

And she must of felt schooled on the subject as her post came down pretty quickly.

Here's the thing. There are Latinx who are also part of the African Diaspora and they are everywhere. The lack of diversity in Hollywood is far from new and Afro-Latinx entertainers have been speaking on their struggles for a very long time. But this recent conversation is proof that we have gotten nowhere and stereotypes prejudiced are still keeping our Afro-Latinx in the shadows.


“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.” - Amara La Negra
Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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