India Arie Discusses the Struggles of Being a Woke, Black Spiritual Woman in the Entertainment Industry

Recently, India Arie  broke down what it's like to be a woke, Black spiritual woman in the entertainment industry. After performing in 26 cities for 40 days on her "Worthy" tour, the singer shared her disappointment in pay and overall recognition. The segment was a part of the singer's "SongVersation" podcast on IGTV.

After seeing, Toni Morrison's new movie Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, India Arie said she identified with the author's experiences. She said, Like her, I too am a Black American woman making art that is unabashedly Black, unabashedly spiritual in a world that doesn't love me."

As a result of her not being accepted, India said she has been blocked from a lot of opportunities. She said,

"I've been denied access to so much -- money, awards, certain types of recognition. Being spiritual, conscious, and Black and female is not marketable-- not really. It was for a minute, then it wasn't. It's not marketable. It's not what they want women to do and to be.

The 43-year old's words about a woke, black, spiritual female artists being marketable appears to refer to the neo- soul time when conscious rap and R&B ruled the airways in the late '90s  to early 2000s. I'm talking about back in the day when you could hear artists like India Arie, Erykah Badu, Common, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Angie Stone, Floetry, The Roots, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill and more on the radio at any given time.  Many of these artists rocked, 'fros, braids, and other natural hairstyles before the natural hair movement began.

If you've been following India Arie's career from day one, then you know she is highly underrated.  Her debut album Acoustic Soul released in 2001 went double platinum -- meaning it sold over 2 million copies. The album was nominated for 7 Grammy's but won none, leaving fans and people in the music industry crying foul. In his song "The People" Common mentioned the snub. He said, "The people said that I was sharp on TV/ At the Grammy's, even though they tried to India Arie me." She finally won 2 Grammy's in 2003 for her Voyage to India (R&B Album) and song Little Things (Best Urban Alternative Performance).

Since then, the singer has released numerous albums and received some awards including a Grammy for the song Pearls in 2009, but she has yet to gain the recognition she deserves. The singer's album Testimony: Vol. 1 Life & Relationship (Bonus Track Edition) peaked at #1 on the Billboard charts on July 15, 2006. Her current album called Worthy peaked at #22 on the Billboard charts on March 2nd of this year. India Arie said that she knows her music is consciously Black and reflects her. The singer maintained that she will continue to remain true to herself.

Even though she didn't share the exact figure, India Arie revealed that she was not paid well for the tour. She said, "You would be surprised by how little money I came home with." After watching the film, the singer said she realized that she doesn't want to chase fame and notoriety anymore and will direct her energy towards the things she loves -- creating.

India Arie, thank you for being transparent about the industry and challenges. You are WORTHY, and we're cheering for you and can't wait to see what you do next! 

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