Like many people, a lot has changed for Amara La Negra amid the pandemic. The singer, businesswoman and reality TV personality decided to give a few things a break, from her signature afro (it’s braided under some fun wigs) to her music career.
“Music has always been my passion, just doing what I’ve done my whole life, but there’s a difference when you do it for fun,” she tells ESSENCE. “Then once it becomes business and once you have labels…you start to feel almost like a work slave.”
Weary of “chasing checks” for others, she decided to make money — a lot of it — for herself. Amara did her research and decided to invest in real estate. The Dominican starlet has since acquired multiple properties, including more than 40 apartments to rent out on Airbnb and sell in the Dominican Republic.
“I’m bringing new job opportunities and I’m bringing tourism to my country as well,” she says. “I’m very proud of that.”
Other things she’s proud of include a notable weight loss spurred by a health wakeup call, work on the second edition of her children’s book series Amarita’s Way, and her thriving, empowering relationship (which you can learn more about on the new season of Love and Hip Hop Miami).
We spoke with her about how prioritizing peace led to her living her best life right now, creating generational wealth, the importance of starting a family sooner than later, and how the transformation her life has undergone is amazing, but inside, she’s still the same Amara fans know and love.
ESSENCE: First and foremost, you look fantastic. You looked beautiful before and you’re gorgeous no matter what, but what has been your health and wellness journey to get to this size?
Amara La Negra: Well, I didn’t really want to talk about it publicly because I just felt like people really weren’t going to care. People want to know about your weight-loss transformation more to be judgmental. I’ve gotten the, ‘You look like a crackhead,’ or ‘you’re doing drugs,’ all types of stuff. It’s crazy because I feel like after the unfortunate loss of [Chadwick Boseman], I feel like that wasn’t even a good enough lesson for people to learn not to be so judgmental because you really don’t know what someone may be going through. But unfortunately, when I was in the Dominican Republic, I found that I have some internal health issues and that also was part of my weight loss. Then eventually back in December, I was weighing about 230 and I didn’t even realize it because it was just like thickness. But my thickness also didn’t contribute to a healthy lifestyle. I come from a family with breast cancer. My father has prostate cancer. Thyroids, high blood pressure, diabetes, all type of things. I was like, “Well, if I don’t start taking care of myself… I know I’m trying to be thick and look sexy for everybody else, but internally, I’m dying.” So I had to modify a couple of things and now I’m here.
I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well now! The new season of Love and Hip Hop Miami is coming so we can see you doing really well, with a new love.
I’m so in love and I’m so happy and I’m so excited. I have taken on this new journey with him as well, real estate. I just feel like an empowered woman. I feel like I’m transforming, I’m evolving, and I am changing into the Amara I’m meant to be. I just feel more mature. It’s like the evolution and growth of Amara.
Can you tell me more about this venture that you have in the Dominican Republic with real estate?
We know that the entertainment industry is like a roller coaster, sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re not. That’s why during the pandemic, I decided to not put all my eggs in one basket, do my research, do a little bit of homework. I’ve always been curious about real estate. I’ve always been a big believer in generational wealth. I don’t come from it because I come from a very poor family. So I wanted to break that generational cycle and be like, “Well, then I’m going to sacrifice. I’m going to learn.” I went to the Dominican Republic, I bought nine properties. I have them on Airbnb, which they’re doing great, which brings passive income. I just launched Amara Residence, which is 42 apartments, 12 penthouses available now for pre-construction sales. I’m trying to be the best I can be, girl. Okay? I’m trying to be, you know what I’m saying, the rich wife. I’m trying to be the boss.
And you touched on it when you were talking about taking a break during the pandemic when it comes to the music. I feel that a lot of people are, when it comes to work in general, they’re prioritizing their peace, and it sounds like that’s what you made a priority for you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like I said, I’ve been doing this since I was four years old and in my mind I thought by now I would have been like Beyoncé because I love her. Then later on, you have to understand that everybody’s journey is different. Your level of success may not be the same one for someone else’s, so you need to pursue your own success. I’m an artist at heart. I will always do music. I love music. I am a performer. I love being on stage. I’m good at my craft, but then I just wanted to have some peace because it’s a lot. It’s a lot being in the industry where everybody’s judging you consistently. All eyes are on you. Social media has brought this whole world of haters that we didn’t see that before. It’s just a lot of pressure. So now, I just do what makes me happy. Now I’m back in the studio, finding the muse, finding myself, finding the Amara that I know I have within me.
Nice, nice. Speaking of not putting all your eggs in one basket, you also have your children’s books. Can you tell us what you have coming with that?
I have my children’s book, Amarita’s Way, available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com now. Then I’m working on my second edition, Say No to Bullies. I always feel that even though I twerk, I sing, I do all these sexy things, whatever, I do have that side of me that I wish that I could have had someone to encourage me in that way when I was younger. I want to be able to do that for the little girls coming up as well. So talking about learning how to embrace the texture of your hair. Don’t judge because of this wig now, okay, because I’ll be changing it up.
My afro is still under here. You all don’t get it twisted. I have changed a little bit, but I’m still Amara. But learning to embrace the texture of your hair, the melanin of your skin, never giving up on your dreams, in this case, say no to bullies, respecting everybody’s faith, their individuality, all of these things are important to me so that’s why I have the second edition of my children’s book.
Speaking of children, in the preview for this upcoming season, I don’t know what’s going on, girl. I saw some baby talk happening…
Well, you may not know. I may be right now…You’re going to have to check me out this season of Love & Hip Hop Miami, but I do feel like I am ready. I think that it’s that time. Sometimes we’re so busy chasing success, chasing the next project, chasing this, chasing that, that you forget that after you have all those things, what’s the point of having it if you have no one to share it with? That doesn’t mean just your significant other, but like I said before, I’m a big believer in generational wealth. I’m an only child. I’ve always had dreams of having lots of children and I want to be able to pass down all my real estate, all my properties, everything I’ve sacrificed. Who am I going to leave this to? So I am looking forward to eventually getting married and having children and continuing to be a boss.
Yes, yes. I love it. I feel like we’re seeing a remix version of Amara. You’re the business woman. You’ve got the new love. You’ve got all these things going, but like you’re saying, you’re still you.
It’s still me, okay? Because people are like, “Oh, my God, Amara’s not thick no more. Oh, my God, Amara wasn’t afro. Oh, my God.” First of all, I’ve always been very clear. My hair is part of me, but it doesn’t define me. My hair doesn’t say who I am. I’m an artist. You have to change it up every so often and I get it. I can spice it up and bring it back on and change it up or whatever, but who I am internally hasn’t changed. I’m still the same girl you guys met on the first season of Love & Hip Hop Miami.
“Love & Hip Hop: Miami” returns Monday, August 23 at 9 PM ET/PT on VH1