Amara La Negra will not be silenced! The singer made headlines following the Monday, January 1, premiere of Love and Hip Hop: Miami when producer Young Hollywood told her that he was looking for “more Beyoncé and less Macy Gray.” He then told her she couldn’t be “elegant” with an Afro.
“Unfortunately, he wasn’t the first person to tell me that,” Amara, 27, tells Us Weekly in an exclusive interview. “I’ve had people judge me so many times based off my looks and not off my talent, and I try to be mellow and try to see their points of view and have them understand my point of view. It wasn’t surprising. It wasn’t shocking because unfortunately a lot of the Latin community has that mentality — not even just the Latin community. I would say the music industry, or the entertainment industry in general, sometimes can have that concept that you have to look a certain type of way in order to succeed, which I am completely against.”
Following their interaction, where he also referred to her as a “Nutella Queen,” she was admittedly shocked and checked with him to make sure he wasn’t just doing it for the cameras. “Every single word that came out of Young Hollywood’s mouth, he really meant. Even when I saw him outside of scenes, I was like, ‘Dude, what was that about? Did you really mean that?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, what’s the problem?’”
As for her afro, she’s baffled by why people care so much about her hair. “My hair is mine. I do have a natural Afro. I embrace it. I love it,” she says. “I do enhance it by wearing extensions because it’s hard for maintenance to have a perfect Afro 24/7, but I did decide to still rock my ‘fro because it’s the style that I feel that’s closer to representing who I am.”
The singer has received a great deal of backlash online, as fans of the show also claim she takes melanin pills to make her skin darker than it is, something she finds extremely offensive. “I don’t know who started this rumor, but I never knew that I had a different type of black. I never knew that my color was a different type of brown. I just thought that I was black, and then that was it,” she says. “I don’t know what it is that is making people question my skin color. It’s very annoying and aggravating, because it’s not as if I haven’t had to fight all my life to be accepted. Now I have to fight against even more because people are doubting that my skin color is really mine.”
Amara adds that many don’t understand her as both African-American and Latina, and because of that, she is met with so many ignorant comments. “Afro-Latinos have existed forever. We’re not a new thing. It just happens to be that we really haven’t had anybody put lights on us. Nobody ever really speaks of us,” she says. “I’m like, ‘I’m tired of feeling like I’m being ignored, like I don’t exist.’”
She recalls auditioning for a Latin soap opera years ago where she was turned away. She was later told she had a “very special look, a very particular look,” but ultimately not what they wanted. “That killed my heart, it killed my spirit because it made me feel like, ‘Why don’t you see me as beautiful as any other Latinas? What is wrong with me or my color?’ It’s not even about my hair because I can change my hair, but it’s the color of my skin that was a problem.”
Amara just signed a record deal with BMG and plans on releasing a single within the first quarter of the year, but isn’t going to ignore what Young Hollywood had said. “That just makes me strong, and I so want to put it in his face like, ‘You see? The way that you think is not necessarily the truth. Watch this. Watch me work.’”
She also had a very strong message to end on: “The message that I am trying to portray is not just for Afro-Latinos, and it’s not just for black women or women of color, which I hate that term, but black women. It’s not just for them. It’s in general. It’s for Caucasians, it’s for Asians, it’s for everyone. Don’t ever feel as if you need to change who you are in order to succeed. Don’t ever feel as if you’re not beautiful because of the standards of society.”
Love & Hip Hop: Miami airs on VH1 Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.