EXCLUSIVE: 'The Queen Of Twerk' Amara La Negra Talks Being Afro-Latina in Music

When Celia Cruz sang “esa negra tiene tumbao” she was pointing to women like Amara, a Miami-born Dominican singer and dancer who's destabilizing traditional modes of sexuality in genres like Reggaetón and Brazilian Funk. She’s a dark-skinned Latina repping hard for Afro hair’d girls and plump derrières all the while becoming increasingly popular in a Caribbean nation overflowing with racism. Meanwhile, back at home near Allapattah (or “Little DR”), la Negra is taking over the scene with her killer curves and in-your-face attitude.

Amara doesn't live the life of a normal 24-year-old. She doesn't go to the movies or hang with the girls. As a kid, she watched her mom work to the bone to keep a roof over her head and put her through several arts academies. While others her age were learning to ride bikes or enjoying family dinners on the weekend, Amara rigorously prepped for a future in entertainment.

PLUS: Learn About More Inspiring Latinas In Our Community

So, who is this doe-eyed, shapely tank of woman who moans when she sings? With her new single “Asi” crackling through the wire, a reality TV feature on Oxygen next month (see Boss Nails) and a new movie filming in DR, one thing’s for certain: the crown is Amara’s for the taking. Get acquainted.

What was it like growing up in your household?

I grew up with a single mother. My mom sacrificed a lot to give me a decent lifestyle. She worked up five jobs in order to maintain the household and still keep me in the music. I was in a dance academy; I used to dance Monday through Friday. I had acting classes, and I had singing classes. I also had modeling classes. I was doing it all. My childhood pretty much revolved around my future. In fact, I don’t know how to ride a bike or how to swim or even roller skate. I don’t know how to do anything that a normal kid did for fun while growing up.

Do you regret anything?

My fun was performing. I don’t regret anything. I do realize that I missed out on a childhood, because I was so focused on my career.  But at the same time, I am where I am today because of it. I still have a ways to go, but I’ve made it further than a lot that have tried for years. I’m very focused and determined and that’s something that my mom definitely instilled in me. She would ask me “do you want to have fun or prepare for your future?” And as a result, I ended up raising myself a lot of the time. I don’t really have any friends.

What about family?

My mom emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States. I have some family, but real family? I only have my mom. She is the only person that I really know. So everything I do, I do to make her proud.

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