Amara La Negra
Photo: Mike Pont/Getty Images
Amara La Negra Will Keep Talking About Her Afro-Latina Identity Until Things Change
If you don't know who Amara La Negra is, you need to catch up. The singer, who was raised under the spotlight of Spanish-language media, has become the most powerful voice in the English-language pop music world when it comes to Afro-Latino identity.
Her music is pop-infused R&B and hip-hop, with a touch of Caribbean sounds. Her songs are infectious, the kind you can find playing at clubs during the summer in cities like Miami or Los Angeles. As a cross-over artist, she is gaining fans in English and Spanish, and is challenging the cookie-cutter image of a Latina pop star in media; Latinas come in all shapes and colors and can be black too, La Negra announces with her hair and dark skin.
"My mom made sure that I always did know that I was beautiful, that there is nothing wrong with me, that there was something wrong with the people who saw me as if I wasn't beautiful enough," she told the Recording Academy's "On Location" host Charlie Travers, about growing up and being treated differently from other Latino children because of her dark features. "A lot of people think it's annoying that I keep talking about it, but I'm going to keep talking about it because I haven't seen any difference."
Amara La Negra's real name is Dana Danelys De Los Santos and was brought up in Miami in a Dominican household. As a child, she appeared on Univision's popular Spanish-language "Sabado Gigante" hosted by iconic host Don Francisco and shared the stage with GRAMMY-winning Afro-Latina salsa legend, Celia Cruz. Now as an adult and reality TV star, La Negra has been very open about her cross-over journey as an Afro-Latina, sharing the ups and the downs, including being criticized on her appearance for not fitting the typical, media-driven "Latina" look on national TV.
"A lot of people want to see change and they just want to sit back and wait for someone to go through the struggles and go through it and make the change happen," La Negra said. "In my case, I'm willing to stand up, because I do get bashed all the time, I'm willing to take that responsibility to open doors and opportunities for other women like myself, other children like myself that have been ignored for so long."
Learn more about Amara La Negra's sound below:
"What A Bam Bam"
In this single, La Negra samples Sister Nancy's reggae hit "Bam Bam" and adds a dembow beat. The bilingual song is an anthem about being single and having fun.
La Negra takes a break from having fun, to get real and personal in "Insecure." "You say I’m loca, crazy/ Said I been tripping lately/ I wanna know baby/ Does that make me insecure, mi amore," La Negra sings in one of her most vulnerable songs.
Using bilingual lyrics once again, La Negra's "Dutty Whine" pays tribute to the Jamaican dance of the same name. "If you do that dutty whine/Make her do that dutty low, low low/Dutty whine! Dutty low!" she sings in this dancehall, pop song released in June.