You would think that by 2018, the world would have finally rejected the notion that black women’s natural hair is unattractive, unprofessional, and inelegant. But don’t ask Love & Hip Hop Miami cast member Young Hollywood, because it would seem he missed that memo.
A clip of the producer having an interaction with fellow LAHH-er and Dominican recording artist Amara La Negra has blown up on the internet as a harsh example of how black women’s natural features are still, sadly, criticized and viewed as something that needs to be “toned down” or changed completely.
Young Hollywood and Amara La Negra are two newcomers to the Love & Hip Hop Miami franchise. Amara is a very proud Afro-Latina singer and performer who embraces her darker skin tone and kinky hair and is trying to make a name for herself in the music world. In the controversial clip, we see her going to meet with Young Hollywood in hopes of having the “Latin Trap” producer help her “find her sound.”
The initial meeting started off a bit awkward as Young Hollywood is surprised to see that Amara brought her mother with her to a business meeting. He decides to take a second meeting because he realizes that Amara’s talent is undeniable. But things take a turn when Hollywood blatantly tells Amara that she needs to look a certain way in order for them to work together on a record. “A little more Beyoncé. A little less Macy Gray,” as he describes. Strike one.
“You gotta be a little more sensual. You know — the Afro thing is cool,” Hollywood goes on to say.
Uh, the “Afro thing?!?!” Strike two.
He continues, “we’ll do a video here and there, but we’ll try something different — different looks. It’s a seasonal thing.”
Her Afro is a “seasonal thing?” Like for when, Kwanzaa? Strike three. But of course, Hollywood couldn’t help but dig himself even deeper.
“You could see Beyoncé just like this, soul sister, the same way you can see her come in a beautiful gown, elegant, breathtaking,” he said after Amara asks him to elaborate further.
“So, I can’t be elegant if I have a ‘fro? Is that what you’re saying?” Amara asks.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he replies.
By then, Young Hollywood had already been canceled in my head, but then he goes further, asking Amara if she identifies as Afro-Latina because she’s African or wears an Afro.
I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve heard such ignorance, but it’s not, and it likely won’t be the last. Many aren’t aware that during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade humans from Africa were captured, enslaved, were transported to not only the United States, but also to parts of the Caribbean and South America. Some also think Latinx is a race and can’t seem to grasp the concept that one can happen to be black and Latinx at the same time. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive. And like most other communities affected by this brand of colonialism, anti-blackness runs deep. As Amara points out, not all Latinas all look like Jennifer Lopez or Sofia Vergara. Many look just like her but sadly, are not given the same degree of visibility because of their blackness. This is why I’m so happy Amara was cast on this show because it brings the issues of colorism and racism — the after-effects of colonialism — to the hip-hop generation.
Amara stood her ground even after Young Hollywood tried to gaslight and dismiss her as crazy and “intense” for taking offense to his blatant condescension and rudeness. When she walked out after he called her psychotic for not accepting his racist and colorist nonsense, I stood up and gave her a round of applause. Best response she could have given.
Young Hollywood’s offensive statements sadly reflect the attitudes of many people towards black women who don’t fit a certain mold. It’s something we should have left behind in 2017 (and let’s be real, even before then), but the good thing about this exchange, as infuriating as it is to watch, is that it is bringing to light the deep-seated prejudices people have against black people, even in communities that are considered minority ones. One thing for sure is that the Twitterverse has Amara’s back, determined to protect her and her beautiful blackness at all costs.
Amara herself is grateful for the support.
And the songstress has another reason to be happy. According to Billboard, she’s signed a multi-album record deal with Fast Life Entertainment Worldwide and BMG.
Guess her “look” works just fine for them.
More amazing ‘fros we love:
Check out this video on popular black hairstyles through the past century: