One thing reality star and Afro-Latino singer Amara La Negra has never denied is her blackness. The "Se Que Soy" songstress has stressed on countless occasions how much her melanin and textured hair mean to her and urges her fan base to embrace all complexions. In Tidal's newest series, Footprints, "an animated series [narrated by public figures] that celebrates the African and Indigenous legacies inherent to the many forms of Latinx song, dance and rhythm."
"We can never escape our blackness regardless of how we define or quantity it," Amara states as the premiere episode opens. Highlighting the genres of reggaeton, salsa, boogaloo, the episode references many famed artists who paved the way for the musical fusion we know today. Amara's most discussed inspiration is Celia Cruz, a prominent figure with the Cuban community whose revolutionary status garnered her the status of “the Queen of Salsa.”
Despite Cruz being ostracized, she turned her problems into commercial success along with Grammy awards. “Before her death in 2003, Celia created the ultimate black girl magic anthem, ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao,’ during the reggaeton explosion.” Since meeting Cruz as a young girl, Amara cites the icon as the muse behind “her love of music, desire to perform and the readiness to overcome racial barriers in the world of entertainment.”
Joe Arroyo and Pete Rodriguez were also a few being thanked as Latino icons who assisted in the conversation surrounding colorism and Latinx music.
Arroyo's hit, "Rebellión," is an ode to powerful black women which details “the story of an African couple brought over by slave traders to Latin America” and sparked his international success. His music fused several genres— calypso, merengue, salsa and soca— along with his native home, Cartagena, Colombia. Pete Rodriguez is the boogaloo legend behind the timeless hit, “I Like It Like That.” Boogaloo is classified as the “perfect merge of Cuban rhythms— guaguanco and mambo— R&B and doo-wop. Cardi B’s current hit, “I Like It,” alongside J. Balvin and Bad Bunny effortlessly fused the past into the present. Aside from the wave of reggaeton inspiring a plethora of artists, Amara states the Latin America may be "years behind" the race conversation, but urges those to think about the history behind that catchy beat you sway your hips to because "it's a Brown thing, baby." You can stream the episode above.
(Photo: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images)