Singer Amara La Negra: A New Look at the Old Problem of Colorism
by G. Brown
Every African American definitely knows two things: Racism and Colorism. The latter term has only recently gained entry into mainstream dictionaries, but it’s a term that most people of color (not just Blacks) are familiar with. Colorism is when people of the same race or ethnicity are prejudice or discriminate against dark or darker skin tones.
The topic of colorism may be a sore subject for radio personality Charlemagne tha God following an interview with rising singer Amara La Negra. When the the Dominican singer and “Love & Hip Hop Miami” star appeared on the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club”, host Charlemagne straight out the gate asked the singer “What are you?”—meaning what race are you. Amara goes on to explain that she identifies as an Afro-Latina because of her African heritage, but both her parents are Dominican.
Amara says people look at her and decide she’s not pretty because she doesn’t have the same skin color or straight hair like JLo, Cardi B or other Latina singers. She says Latinos don’t have an MLK or Black Lives Matter movement to fight their color barriers that are just as real as Black Americans face.
Charlemagne finally said he wasn’t understanding Amara’s issue of colorism and asked her to break it down. Fans slammed hosts Charlemagne and DJ Envy for their lack of respect towards Amara on an issue that every person of color understands…especially African Americans.
Amara has spent a lot of time explaining her look…primarily to Black people who have some sort of disconnect because of her darker skin tone, big Afro and slight Spanish accent. The singer explained that there’s actually an online campaign to out her as a fake who’s wearing ‘blackface’ and anAfro wig along with taking melanin shots to look darker. Amara says, “It’s really sad that I even have to answer these questions. The fact that I have to feel as if I have to prove myself because every single part of me is being questioned just because there’s a lot of ignorance when it comes to the Afro Latino people. People don’t understand that there are Black people who speak Spanish.”
Look even with Google to answer every dumb question we don’t want to ask out loud, there is still a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to people of color. Race and skin color can be a complex spilling way beyond the original anthropological categories of you’re either 1)Black/Negroid, 2)White/Caucasian or 3)Asian/Mongoloid.
Biologist and evolutionist Charles Darwin was right–people come in too many shades, gradations and degrees of color to try to squeeze them into one of three or four races. Whether Black, Dominican or Puerto Rican we have to stop using European standards as the definition of beauty, brains, ability or talent. The only scale of measurement we should consider is what Martin Luther King used to gauge people—the content of their character. It’s bad enough when people outside your race use the darkness of your skin to write you off, but when your own race decides that ‘I’m better than you because my skin is lighter’…there is no intelligence or humanity left in the human race.