The world has been (re)introduced to the beauty that is Amara La Negra by way of the reality series Love and Hip Hop Miami. I can easily envision La Negra being the next rag to riches story that folk “sop up with biscuits” like Cardi B. Just as with Cardi B, La Negra can appeal to both english and spanish speaking audiences.
La Negra is a proud Afro-Latina of Dominican descent and the show partly follows her attempt to break into the American mainstream. Controversy arose following the new installment of the reality series; as viewers watched music producer Elijah “Young Hollywood” Sarraga attempt to explain how La Negra’s ‘look’ and glorious afro (how can you not love her afro?) may stall her progress or career. He then proceeds to make one problematic statement after another.
Since the premier and controversy, new found fans of La Negra celebrated as she signed a multi-album deal with Fast Life Entertainment Worldwide and BMG.
I’d never heard of La Negra before but due to the dust up, I searched online for her music to asses her talents. From what I gathered, her music is mostly dance music, which is cool. I think the majority of dance tracks that are hits in the mainstream are not due to the singer having strong vocal skills but due the production and extremely catchy repetitive hooks. Based on this, La Negra can absolutely make it and cross over into mainstream status.
After watching her official music video from 2013 in conjunction with doing an image search of her online, I was a bit conflicted.
In society and in media, darker skin women are absolutely seen as less attractive than lighter skin women. This is due to lighter or fairer complexions being considered more desirable by many; which is routed in white supremacy and European beauty standards. Black bodies are not only desired but subsequently ridiculed. For this reason, it’s refreshing to hear and see a darker skin woman of Latin descent being proud of her dark skin and professing it on national television….major props. This is happening at a time when more and more Latinos are self-identifying as White.
Nonetheless it didn’t qualm my sense of disappointment.
Looking at her countless public images, it seems that the biggest talent she has to offer is her body. Her videos and performances were mostly of her shaking her ass and pussy poppin. Many of the images were semi-nude or overtly sexual in nature.
In the last couple of decades since rap music became a dominating force sweeping the globe; we’ve been told that sexual objectification of women (specifically Black women) within lyrics and music videos, is not only problematic and stereotypical but also dangerous.
On the other hand, when women sexually objectify and put themselves on display, in the same fashion as what’s being condemned in rap videos; it’s considered Amber Rose style-sexual empowerment-feminism. Looking at the below videos (within the prism of today’s climate), it was hard for me to imagine them not being considered sexist or misogynistic and that La Negra wasn’t submitting to patriarchy.
In the below video she plays an adulterous maid…yep, the hired help. Nope…no racial stereotypes to see here.
Woke Black women, Black Feminists, Black Queer Feminist, all Feminists…yall good with this?
…And what about this?
Notice the young Black girls in the back ground. What message do you think they’re receiving? How is this not what Black women and feminists have been speaking out against for years now?
I feel like because Sarraga attacked her appearance and she’s defending “Black Girl Magic Dark-Skin Blacknes”, people want her to win regardless if she has no real talent outside of being beautiful, voluptuous and a twerk master. The message I’m receiving from La Negra is, “Hey America; I’m pretty, I’m sexy, I love my dark skin and Latino heritage…NOW MAKE ME FAMOUS.”
Is there not a middle ground to celebrate Blackness, darker complexions, our natural hair and our sex appeal without giving up pounds of flesh in the process? South American / Latino / Caribbean culture on many levels is overtly sexual and celebrates the human body. One only has to witness Carnivals of the region (especially Brazil’s) to observe this point. However we’re talking about the palette of the American audience which is a bit more conservative.
I’m definitely not some conservative prude and I understand sex sells, but do we have to be so cheap?