On Monday, VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Miami premiered and delivered its average dose of drama, drink throwing, fighting and music-producer-meets-random-new-artist scenes.
Veterans of the industry included Trick Daddy, Trina, Pleasure P and Gunplay. And the show also introduced viewers to a whole new crop of hip-hop and hip-hop adjacent celebrities including Veronica Vega, Young Hollywood and Amara La Negra.
La Negra’s storyline, in particular, grabbed attention as the Dominican singer attempts to navigate through colorism within the Hispanic music community. In one uncomfortable scene, she and producer Young Hollywood go back and forth about her image after he suggests her afro is too intense.
“Let’s say we’re about to take off and actually do a record,” begins Young Hollywood. “And I’m like, ‘Yo, I need you to look a certain way.'”
“What kind of certain way,” La Negra responds.
“The afro thing is cool,” he says. “Maybe we could do a video, here and there. But maybe let’s try something different. Different [hair] looks.”
“Elaborate… So I can’t be elegant if I have an afro?” she asked.
“Yea, I guess so,” he responded.
“Being Afro-Latina, I embraced that…”
Young Hollywood responded, “Hold on. Afro-Latina? Elaborate. Are you African or is this just because you have an afro?” Adding, “At the end of the day, the music industry, they’re looking for cookie-cutter poster childs.”
The conversation caused an explosion on Twitter about colorism in the Hispanic community.
As expected, Young Hollywood was dragged.
Often, discussions surrounding Black women and how they can succeed in mainstream music spaces only lightly broached the popular reality show. Yet for the first time, race, skin tone and embracing one’s Black features was addressed head-on and the truth was ugly and uncomfortable.
There’s no guarantee that Love & Hip Hop will be the venue for this deep dive into colorism. There’s no guarantee that Amara La Negra will have success with her dark features and afro. But it is commendable that the show is opening the door for further discussion.
We’ll see where it goes this season.
Love & Hip Hop Miami airs on Mondays at 9pm EST on VH1.