Amid national outrage over the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, thousands of people have taken the streets to protest demanding justice for Floyd and other black citizens who have died in the hands of police.
Dominican-American Amara La Negra (real name: Diana de los Santos) was among the protestors who marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Miami over the weekend. “I have spoken on every single platform possible about injustice, racial issues and colorism issues in my community and in the African American community,” the “There’s No Way” singer tells Billboard. “I just felt like it was part of my duty to be apart of the protest fighting for human rights.”
Just days after taking the streets to demand justice and police accountability, the black and proud Afro Latina, known for her dembow rhythms in songs like “Bam Bam” and “Sé Que Soy,” shares with Billboard why it matters, more than ever, to stand in solidarity with the black community, and encourages other Latinos to join the fight for justice.
Amara La Negra kicks off our ‘Why I Protest’ series featuring other Latin artists in the upcoming days.
Which protest did you take a part of?
I took part of the protest here in Downtown Miami. It was very empowering to unite with my brothers and sisters to fight for justice and equality, not only for George Floyd but for all the black lives that have been taken from us.
Describe your experience at the demonstration?
I went around 3 p.m. and everyone was protesting peacefully. There was no riot or chaos and everyone was marching with a purpose. I left around 7:30 p.m. Later on I found out via the news that there was a riot going on and cars were being burned. I didn’t participate in any of that because I don’t believe in looting or violence, however I do understand the frustration of my people who haven’t seen any sort of justice for years.
What does it mean to you as a Latinx artist to be involved in the Black Lives Matter protests?
Before being Latin, I am a black woman, a black Latina, an Afro Latina, an Dominican woman. It felt like I was doing my part because I have been an activist for the Afro Latina community for a very long time. I have spoken on every single platform possible about injustice, racial issues, and colorism issues in my community and in the African American community. I was born and raised in Miami but I grew up in an African American community called Brownsville and being in that environment exposed me to the injustice that happens in the African American community as well. I just felt like it was part of my duty to be apart of the protest fighting for human rights.
How do you encourage the Latino community to support the Black Lives Matter movement?
I encourage the Latino community to support the Black Lives Matter movement because as minorities and immigrants in this country they too have suffered from discrimination, although in a different way from the African American community. They too know what it’s like to be treated differently, to face injustice, to be humiliated, and be not be looked at as equal. In every Latin community there are Afro Latinos so this matters to all of us. We need to support our brothers and sisters because as human beings to see someone treated unfairly should strike a chord with all of us.
Can you share a safety tip for attending a protest in times of a pandemic?
I would say just protest peacefully. We don’t have to be violent. We’ve already established our point and the whole world is looking at us and they see us. I don’t want people to portray us in a negative light more than they already have. We are not those type of people and united we are stronger.