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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Musician, TV personality Amara La Negra discusses being Afro-Latina in entertainment industry

It’s uncommon to see dark-skinned black women represented in Latinx pop culture, La Negra said
James Strebe

An Afro-Latina musician and star of “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” discussed colorism, identity and her experience in the entertainment industry in a discussion Thursday evening at Memorial Union.

To say Amara La Negra was engaging is an understatement. During her talk, La Negra snatched the question sheet out of a moderator’s hand to encourage her to talk off script and interrupted her own questionnaire to give an impromptu round of applause to an audience member’s hair.  

“This is an experience,” La Negra said. “Everywhere I go is an experience.”


La Negra’s enthusiasm — especially her enthusiasm for her Afro-Latina identity — is why organizers chose her to talk as part of the 2018 Latinx heritage month theme of “cultura.”

Latinx Heritage Month at UW ‘Celebrating Cultura’ begins Friday

Born Diana de los Santos, La Negra grew up within the entertainment industry. Her mother began supporting her at a young age after she asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“I don’t want to be,” La Negra said. “I am a superstar.”

At a young age, La Negra admired Afro-Cuban singer Celia Cruz, who she performed with on three occasions.

Cruz would tell La Negra’s mom that she wished she had a little girl like La Negra.

“She was our Michael Jackson,” La Negra said. “And she was black, which was huge. The only one. The only one.”

Growing up, La Negra said she didn’t have black and Latinx role models to look up to outside of Cruz.

After Cruz passed away in 2003, La Negra said there wasn’t anybody else to look up to for years.

“Until I came along,” La Negra added. 

UW students spearhead creation of two new campus cultural centers

Overcoming prejudice has been a challenge for La Negra. Throughout her life, people told her she was either too black to be Latina or too Latina to be black.

Although many people only see the black and white of American racial conflict, La Negra said it’s uncommon for dark skinned black woman to see themselves represented in Latinx popular culture.

“Where are the women who look like myself? Where are the men who look like myself?” La Negra said. “It’s not that we’re not talented. It’s not that we’re not well educated. They just don’t give us the same opportunities based off our looks.”

Multicultural Student Center to host Latinx Ball in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, unite in times of tragedy

La Negra said she’s working towards making a difference. Next month, her children’s book will be released. She encouraged audience members to try to uplift the people around them so that they can find their own beauty, no matter their struggles.

La Negra said she was concerned that many people have become too comfortable and too lazy to take action and be a part of change. She encouraged the audience to do more than talk and take action

“It’s time for us as the new generation to stand up and talk about it,” La Negra said. “It’s so easy for you to lay back and watch somebody else struggle to defend you, struggle to make a path for you, struggle to make a path for your children and your grandchildren while you lay back and just wait until somebody does it. If you want to see change, you need to be a part of the change.”

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