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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  • Not convinced

    She okay’ed this image. Why did she approve that? BTW the cover looks terrible, she looks sickly being whitescaled up like that. Here’s a pic of her performing with her regular more beautiful skin


  • Smug

    She may not be bleaching, but the fact of the matter is… She nor a member of her team didn’t say anything about the image. SHE (and/or THEY) knew this was stir trouble, yet, the cover was approved and dismissed as “O.K.” anyway. You pulled it, India, you really did.

    • kgo

      She might not have had the time to get a look at everything before it’s issued. She might have trusted some of her people.

  • To think India of ALLLLL artists bleached her skin is crazy and comical. That thought never entered my mind. Clearly the people who thought she did aren’t big fans and regular listeners of her lyrics. It was obviously the lighting, which is very common in high-quality, professional photography. Moving on, is this song out yet? Looked for it and couldn’t find it! I really wanna hear it!!!

    • Well I’m a pro makeup artist and no it’s not “common” in professional photography, nor is it really a photographic issue. That image went through a lot of post (photoshop). Not only did they lighten her skin unnecessarily, but they changed her features, etc. To me it just doesn’t even look like her. It’s just an odd image. I never thought for a minute that she was skin bleaching, but I did find myself wondering how they came to select/use that image.

  • chocolush

    @indiaarie………EW girl please stop trying to bring up colorism—NOBODY cares whose light or dark…are you serious in this economy……you are just doing this to get attention…please stop dividing and conquering…all of us are shaking in fear of getting a PINK slip we are not buying Coco Butter#theREALcolorisGREEN

  • I too liked India Arie’s response but I can’t get past the fact she allowed it to happen. Talk is cheap! I am not listening to what she said I am too busy watching what she allowed to happen. She allowed the “Magnificent lighting” to occur. Why was this necessary? She lovers herself herself and her skin color just as it is right…….RIGHT. Let’s keep the dialogue going!!