The Motley News

India. Arie’s Lightened Photo: Publicity Stunt?

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Guest Post from LaToya Harris

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love India.Arie and her music. I was with her when she sang about not being another girl in the “Video.” I was with her when she sang about being “Ready for Love.” I was with her when she sang about “Brown Skin.” I was even with her when she told everyone “There’s Hope.”
This week, when India. Arie introduced her song, “Cocoa Butter” to the world, featuring a lighter version of herself on the front cover of the song’s promotional photo, I was still with her lol. However, I did have some questions about why her skin appeared lighter, in the photo. I thought it was the result of camera lighting. and airbrushing. 

I wondered, why? But we have seen this time and time again with several celebrities like Beyonce and Gabourey Sidibe, who appear to be lighter, especially on magazine and album covers. I think this means that a deeper conversation needs to be had about the reasons behind why the skin of dark celebrities are often lightened on magazine covers and album covers. Does this mean that the editors believe that they will be more accepted? Hmm? 


This can be taken back to the idea of skin whitening in the entertainment industry. It can also be taken back to my dollar store visit three months ago, when I spotted a box of skin whitening cream beside the cash register. But, that’s another story in itself….

After accusations of skin bleaching were thrown at India.Arie, she released a statement on Facebook stating that she would never do such a thing as skin bleaching. This was her response:

Love to all #SoulBirdsWorldWide are you ready for this #SongVersation ?
Personally speaking! 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. Lol

3. The GLOW you see IS (magnificent) lighting

4. THE LIGHT you see, Well thats all ME!!

Politically speaking racism/colorism in the black community is a MUUUUUUUCH larger #SongVersation #skinversaton

THAT I’d LOVE to “shed light on”..that conversation IS REAL, …let’s keep talking. #SongVersation #soulbirdsworldwide

Big love to ALL #soulbirdsworldwide “ – India. Arie’s Facebook page.

Now, India could have suggested that the artists or photographers who lightened her photo, keep her skin tone. But, let me let you guys in on a secret. I think India. Arie’s promotional photo for “Cocoa Butter” spread faster, over the internet than the actual song. It even made news on TMZ. Publicity is something else huh? So, guess what? Go India! I’m still with you!


Author: Charish Halliburton

Writer and Editor for The Motley News

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