India. Arie has addressed the criticism she faced for her comments regarding Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monáe’s twerk contest at Essence Fest. In an Instagram Story on Wednesday (July 5), the singer reiterated her belief that the competition’s message wasn’t ideal but emphasized that she had no malicious intent.
She started by stating:
“I HATE defending simple logic, so I’m going just to say this, THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE WITH ANY OF MY SISTERS. PERIOD. I am AN OLD SCHOOL LONG-TIME AFFIRMING VOICE FOR WOMEN. MY RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. I LOVE humanity, even in all its bullshit, LOL!
“All I’m saying is CONTEXT MATTERS. Debate that if you want, but I said what I said. And WHY did I say it? Because just like EVERYONE ELSE, I am entitled to my opinion.”
“BUT ALSO, I DO THIS WORK. My whole adult LIFE.. the work of UPLIFTING, LOVING, AFFIRMING, and SUPPORTING the WELLNESS of Black women. And all people at large. How effective I was… I guess depends on who you ask. But for 20-plus years, I ran 100 miles an hour at all times… In the name of HEALING. So, when I see something that sparks my PERSONAL mission… I speak.
“There’s no scandal here. Just one woman’s opinion. But what I will NEVER ALLOW is for ANYONE to paint ME!! As a person who would use other women for kindling in the burning down of the patriarchy. NO. No. NO. NO. NOOO. It’s. I love all of the female artists because I KNOW FIRST how hard it is to BE ONE.”
India. Arie continued speaking:
“I’ve released eight albums. And have myself played the ESSENCE main stage… 6 (?) times? What I see here is the mainstreaming of cults, that IMHO should be adult-only entertainment. AND! I’ve been saying this SAaaaaaaammmmmmmeeeeee thing for over 20 years. WHY?
“LOL some could say my ideals created a LESS business model, LOL !! But I stand by them because my gut tells me too. SO much more to say but I don’t feel like it. I’m in a BIG REAL LIFE MOMENT and have a BUNCH of stuff going on. Also, in case you missed it… PROTECTING MY PEACE IN 2023. I’m open for a REAL smart debate or a real conversation but I don’t do the social media self propelled outrage BS. I put ME FIRST in my life. I DO this self care thing FOR REAL.”
The singer of “Brown Skin” wrapped up with:
“LASTLY, INCASE ANYONE MISSED IT! I do NOT make a practice of publicly criticizing my sisters. My thoughts are around ESSENCE FESTIVAL and context. Which really is logic. I’m NOT addressing this anymore. Peace. Why is it so hard for people to understand? It’s crazy to me the level of explanation needed. And why is everything a thing. [laughing emojis] IT YOU! Not me lol.”
Essence Fest’s official Instagram page posted a video showcasing a twerk dance competition that included women of various body types. The contestants were motivated by Megan Thee Stallion, while Janelle Monáe cheered them on from the sidelines.
India. Arie became aware of the video and expressed discontent with what she saw. While she has no personal problem with either of the women involved, she believes their actions may have negative implications for the wider audience who are observing. The renowned Grammy Award-winning musician shared her thoughts by stating,
“The issue is what is CONTEXT,” “Humanity does EVERYTHING. But does EVERYTHING BELONG IN A STAGE. No. is everything for KIDS? No. is everything for EVERY BODY? NO. so when we as a culture make something like this main stream ~ it shows a lack of discretion and discernment.”
“To those in the comments who laugh at anyone who wants these things for out culture you certainly have that right. Just as many folks have the right to want our MAINSTREAM International export – out Music – to show us in a respectful light. Id like to go on the record saying : this wont age well and thats my issue. “i LOVE Janelle AND Meg the way i love us all ~ AND i dont like this moment. Dont bother debating me lol idc and I DO this. for 25 yrs i’ve done THIS. so. read ponder or dont.”
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) July 5, 2023