Amara La Negra knows rejection.
A producer once told her that her hair was “ugly,” that she was too dark-skinned to succeed in Hispanic entertainment and that she had to change her image.
When Amara, whose stage name means “Amara the Black One,” auditioned for Spanish-language soap operas, she was told she would only get roles as a prostitute, drug addict, thief or slave.
“That made me feel really bad because I am as much of a Latina as anyone else,” said the actress and rapper, born in Miami of Dominican parents. “I have suffered a lot of racism in this industry. Unfortunately, Afro-Latinos like me are not taken into account as much as those with lighter skin.”
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“Tell me, how many blacks have you seen on television?” she asked, adding that racism is less prevalent in music than in those areas where the image is essential.
Amara said she’s determined to cross over into English-language entertainment, promote Afro-Hispanics in the Anglo world and open doors for young people in both worlds.
“Young blacks like me may be as prepared as anyone else, but they never pick us. I have lived that kind of experience all my life,” she said, noting she has no plans to change her signature Afro.
“My ’fro is my image,” she told the Miami Herald last week.
The year 2018 will be her best yet, Amara predicted. She is one of eight cast members in this season’s reality show “Love & Hip Hop Miami,” which premiered on Monday night and airs at 9 p.m. Mondays on VH1.
The show follows Miami’s up-and-coming rappers.
“Since I don’t have a love life, at least for now, my mother is the one who plays an important role in my life,” said Amara, hinting that her mom will be reflected in the program.
“It’s difficult to find a boyfriend who understands that I have to travel and work a lot. That creates jealousy problems, but I will find one soon,” said Amara, who recently signed a multi-album deal with BMG, according to VH1 News.
Amara has been preparing to be a star since she was 4 years old and was part of the children’s group in the popular “Sabado Gigante” program. She later joined the Univision dance troupe and has performed with Willy Chirino, Olga Tañón and the late Celia Cruz.
“Celia Cruz was one of the reasons I was moved to feel proud of my roots,” she said..She started to focus on her singing at the age of 14 or 15, Amara added, and now prefers urban Latin music that mixes salsa with hip-hop.
“I love fusion. Now I will be making more American music, but I don’t want to lose my Latin essence,” she told el Nuevo Herald.
She has performed songs with Pitbull, Jason Derulo and Trina.
“I just signed a multimillion-dollar contract with an American company. The project starts in January,” Amara added, referring to the album deal.
She will act in a movie this year and already has a clothing line, ALN Clothing Line, mostly made up of swimsuits, sportswear and girdles made in Colombia.
“I am daring, playful, very focused and a fighter. I bring a new taste to music,” she added. “I am very optimistic. I want to use my voice and my talent to deliver a positive message.”
Follow Sarah Moreno on Twitter: @SarahMorenoENH