When India.Arie released her cover for her latest single, Cocoa Butter, she was immediately met with criticisms that she lightened her skin for the cover image. This past weekend, the singer sat down with Oprah Winfrey for Super Soul Sunday to explain the concept behind the photo and reassure the public that she wasn't trying to lighten her skin tone.
"What I wanted was to have gold skin. If you see, the dress is gold fabric, it's metallic fabric, and the backdrop is metallic," she says. "I just wanted for it to glow and be luminous, not light, luminous. For me, there's that conversation where women's bodies are just unpacked for entertainment. Bikini body, post-baby body, mom boobs and all the stuff that they say. For me it was stepping out there and allowing myself to be beautiful and sensual and powerful and strong and athletic and womanly and all that stuff and just letting it be seen. Showing some skin. Showing my thigh muscles. That was my intention. I wasn't trying to look light, I was trying to look luminous."
Arie, whose new album, Songversation, is out today, also discussed how off-balance she felt and questioned whether she was meant to be in the music industry after being up for seven Grammy Awards in 2001 and going home with none. She also admitted that for a while she felt as if she was living her mother's dreams instead of chasing her own.
"I didn't have a foundation of well-being… It always felt like I was recovering from some sort of battle. I was always recovering… Everyone around me was happy because I had what they wanted me to have."
To view the entire episode of her interview with Winfrey and hear what the soulful singer had to say about colorism in the Black community and self-worth, click here.
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(Photo: OWN Network)