Being Afro-Latina doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an afro and dark skin. It’s about acknowledging your African ancestry, period. You don't need a certain percentage of blackness or need to look a certain way.
For proud Afro-Latinos, using the label is a way to embrace the part of their identity that has been seen as less than thanks to the history of colonialism and slavery. Afro-Latinos come in all shapes, sizes, skin tones, and hair textures, and yet the ignorance surrounding this concept is still widespread — even among Latinos themselves! Racism and colorism has a lot to do with it.
The term is fairly new in the grand scheme of things, so some lack of knowledge is expected, but sometimes people are straight up disrespectful when discussing the Afro-Latino identity. This infuriating fact was highlighted on the season premiere of "Love & Hip Hop: Miami," where Dominican singer Amara La Negra had to school Puerto Rican music producer Young Hollywood after he made some seriously questionable comments about the subject and her looks.
La Negra stormed onto the show making it loud and clear that she is proud of her roots.
Her storyline is about wanting to cross over into the US market, so she links up with Hollywood, who made racist comments while discussing her image.
They met up at a studio where he asked La Negra if she would be open to changing up her look if they did a record together. When she asked him what he meant by that, he said, “A little more Beyoncé, a little less Macy Gray.”
We rolled our eyes so hard, and it was downhill from there.
La Negra asked him to be more specific and he eventually admitted that he doesn't think afros can be elegant, all while she gave him the crazy look he deserved.
La Negra started to explain what this means to her as an Afro-Latina, and Hollywood cut her off to ask what that meant. "Hold on. Afro-Latina? Elaborate. Are you African or is that just because you have an Afro?"
It was in that moment that we wished we could jump through our TV screens and wipe that smirk off his face.
"Just in case you hadn't noticed, I am Black," La Negra responded.
Her statement was necessary because a lot of people don't understand the difference between ethnicity and race. For example, Dominican isn't a race, it's an ethnicity. You can be white, Black, mixed, etc.
Hollywood dug himself into a deeper hole by saying that the music industry is looking for "cookie cutter poster childs" but La Negra clapped back, letting him know "not all Latinas look like J.Lo or Sofia Vergara or Shakira. Where are the women that look like myself?"
SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK!
And then Hollywood actually mocked her by putting his fist up, saying she's "a little intense about this whole African thing." Then came the biggest slap in the face: calling her "psychotic."
So typical and so infuriating. Just because La Negra didn't let his ignorance slide, he resorted to essentially calling her an angry Black woman. It's such a weak cop out and a go-to for people who can't handle a woman of color standing up for herself.
La Negra finally had enough and walked out on Hollywood, and we couldn't have been more proud.
We hope this reaction served as a teaching moment for Hollywood and others that think like him. It is never too late to become educated on such an important subject and help end racism.
We'll be rooting for La Negra and her message in the meantime.
To watch her full exchange with Hollywood, click here.