India.Arie found herself in the middle of a swirl of internet rumors after releasing the artwork for her latest single, “Cocoa Butter.” The cover shows her looking a few shades lighter than usual.

Critics and fans alike, including rapper Rhymefest, played the “Did She or Didn’t She?” game that has become all too common in our physical assessments of black women celebrities and their varied skin colors.

We predicted that India.Arie didn’t succumb to the skin bleaching epidemic, and her lighter complexion was just an offshoot of lighting. It turns out we were right.

The singer tweeted to address the rumors, saying:

Personally speaking! I’m happy to say I have NOT BLEACHED my skin. 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 that’s all ME!

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

We love her response for a variety of reasons, among them the fact that she encouraged a conversation about racism and colorism in the black community. It clearly needs to be addressed as it is the impetus behind rumors like these. The public is sensitive toward any image that shows a celebrity appearing lighter because it’s interpreted to mean they’ve subscribed to that dominant beauty standard that light is better.

India.Arie is one of the few who always championed defining beauty from the inside out and loving herself just as she is. This unfortunate debacle could be an opportunity for her to continue to spread that message to help women love themselves and their skin color just as it is. What are your thoughts on her comments, Clutchettes?

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