“We get caught up in where the ship dropped us off versus where the ship picked up us.” - Laz Alonso
It’s Black History Month. Let’s explore a controversial topic that has captured the attention of Black America, especially the millennials. That topic is colorism in the Afro-Latino culture.
This season’s cast of the Love & Hip Hop: Miami includes a young American woman of African-Dominican descent who has been in the Latin-American entertainment industry for most of her life. Her name is Amara La Negra, born Dana Danelys De Los Santos.
Amara is a beautiful dark-skinned woman with a signature big Afro hairstyle similar to political activist Angela Davis in the 1970s. Her look is different and refreshing. Most Black women in the public eye choose to wear their hair in straight, Eurocentric hairstyles rather than their natural hair which could be curly, wavy, kinky or nappy. So when Amara is told by a music producer that she needs to be a “little bit more Beyoncé and a little less Macy Gray” social media exploded.
The producer, Young Hollywood, is of Puerto Rican descent. He was roundly criticized and called racist. It didn’t help that he referred to Amara as Nutella Queen and called her psychotic.
Ignorance of colorism and racial discrimination in the Latin culture continued to prevail when Amara was interviewed on the nationally-syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club hosted by DJ Envy, Charlamagne Tha God and Angela Yee. Charlamagne and Envy tried to invalidate Amara’s struggles with colorism. They even went so far as to insinuate that she is delusional. As expected, Black Twitter dragged them for a few days.
Actor Laz Alonso, a Howard University alum of Cuban descent, broke down the Afro-Latino issue and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the most succinct and intelligent manner.
At the end of the day, White supremacy is real. Its effect is still seen and perpetuated today. Like calling straight hair “good” and kinky hair “bad”, let’s stop with the ignorance and understand that people can be Black and Latin. After all, life began in Africa. We are all African.