Amara La Negra’s Rising Career is Rooted in Unapologetic Afro-Latinidad

Dana Danelys De Los Santos, better known as Amara La Negra, brought her high energy version of Dembow-infused Latin pop to the stage at Afro Latino Festival of New York last weekend, impressing the Queen of Soca herself, Alison Hinds.

“Her energy is amazing,” gushed Hinds, the evening’s headliner, from the stage before announcing a future collaboration, a fitting gesture for a festival with this year’s theme, “A Tribute to Women of the Diaspora.”

Amara La Negra

A few days earlier, we caught up with Amara at a rehearsal space on the West Side of Manhattan, as she prepared for her festival set with her backup dancers and frequent collaborator, 2nyce. This rising star in the Spanish-speaking music industry looked thrilled to play the festival, telling us, “It’s an honor that they even thought of me.”

The two-day festival highlights afrodescendientes in Latin America with panels, a film festival, an award ceremony, and a full day of music and vendors.

“It’s beautiful,” says the 26-year-old Miami-born, Dominican artist. “There’s so much diversity when it comes to Afro-Latinos that it’s just beautiful when we can all come together and share our differences.”

Perú, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Cuba, Panama, and Puerto Rico were all represented at the festival, which is in its fifth year. “There’s not a Latin country that doesn’t have people like us,” Amara adds.

The theme of the festival is especially important for her—“I like to empower women as much as I can,” she says. “I think women, we’re powerful, we’re strong together.”

Celia Cruz, the Queens of Salsa, is often the example Amara cites as inspiration for the kind of strong persona with which she aspires. “Celia is everything to me,” says Amara. “She was the only Afro-Latina that made it world-wide.”

Read more here at OkayAfrica