India Arie addresses rumours of lightening her skin but raises more questions (PHOTO)


Lately African American actresses and singers have been outspoken about embracing who they are. Brandy and Kelly Rowland recently spoke about how they learned to love the skin that they were in. Gabrielle Union wrote a letter to her younger self in Essence magazine a few months back. Singer India.Arie is no exception. Some would even say that India started the modern day revolution of “black is beautiful” with her debut song, “Video” ,in 2001 . But when India’s cover for her new single, “Cocoa Butter”, was released, India appeared to look lighter than her normal ebony hue, raising the eyebrows of critics and fans alike.

The 37 year old singer immediately defused the rumors and concerns that she may have lightened her skin. One twitter post from a fan stood out. The post reads from @MeLaMachinko , “India arie ur supposed to be the champion for darker women, Im so disappointed in u!”

Another post from rapper, Rhymefest, read, “India Arie should’ve played Nina Simone but when the industry robs our dark sisters they turn into this.”Rhymefest makes a good point. Many dark young African American women have a harder time of it in the industry and I have said before that we fought hard to get proper images of ourselves into the mainstream and then they are snatched out from under us, from the powers that be and given to light skinned women. But in this case, can we really make that argument?

From an actress standpoint and after reviewing the picture, it doesn’t look like India took the route of lightening her skin. A photographer often has a difficult time lighting dark skinned women properly. Some will say that this explanation is beside the point and that India had an option to disapprove of the picture. But then that opens up a whole new can of worms and you would have to ask the question of, who is in control, the artists or the corporation she works under?

Unlike most individuals in the public eye ,who would stay quiet and issue a  public statement, India, in genuineness, addressed those that were concerned. On Friday India took to twitter and let her fans know that she is still the same beautiful ebony skinned queen that most of us look up to. India posted the following:

“Personally speaking,’ India began, ‘I’m happy to say I have NOT BLEACHED my skin LOL! ROTF at the thought.”

 ’1. I wouldn’t endanger my health that way 2. i’m so in love with myself I have no DESIRE to BLEACH myself. ’3. The GLOW you see IS (magnificent) lighting 4. THE LIGHT you see, Well that’s all ME!!’

 “Politically speaking racism/colorism in the black community is a MUUUUUUUCH larger… THAT I’d LOVE to ”shed light on”..that conversation IS REAL, …let’s keep talking,’ she wrote.

 “I love my #brownskin more than EVER! MUUUUUUUCH longer conversation.”

 There were some that came to the singer’s defense. @BobTheNigerian wrote, “She is not her skin.”

@ILoveIndiaArie wrote “Some people make a big deal out of anything just to have news! SMH India girl do your thing we love [you] always.”

This raises a bigger issue within the entertainment industry. How much of a role model are dark skinned women supposed to be? Also, are African American women in the industry suffering a lot more than their lighter colleagues? Are we truly forced to lighten our skin and change our features in order to compete or receive the clout that we so deserve?

Read more: Your Black World

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