I fell in love with India.Arie’s ability to weave a tale the moment I heard her sing the first few lines of Video in 2001. Her melodic, soulful voice and the catchy tune were enough to make the song good, but it was her message, an unapologetic celebration of her own unique beauty, that made the song truly special.
It was a song written for the rest of us. The women who didn’t look like runway models and video vixens. Women who would likely never grace the cover of a magazine, but who were truly beautiful both inside and out. This anthem of self-love resonated with me and with millions of women who needed to be reminded that we were beautiful and that we should celebrate what was unique about us, rather than trying to look like someone else.
I was impressed.
But, it was Brown Skin, the second song released from her debut album, Acoustic Soul, that sealed the deal for me. In Video India.Arie created a love song that advocated that we learn to love ourselves. In Brown Skin she gave us a sexy, sultry song that celebrated love and lust, yet further celebrated non-traditional beauty. It’s no wonder the album was nominated for seven Grammys.
While Alicia Keys swept the Grammys that year, India.Arie proved that she was an extraordinary singer/songwriter with a gift for creating positive, engaging stories of love and self-acceptance.
India has given us several gorgeous songs that weave beautiful stories while also infusing us with love, light, and encouragement. My all-time favorite being, The Truth. This song and the accompanying video are powerful storytelling at its best. The song captures the intoxicating feeling of being with someone who makes us feel truly special, while acknowledging how maddening that same relationship can be.
India.Arie appeals to me as a storyteller on so many levels. First and foremost, it is probably her ability to convey her sense of self in a way that is positive and celebratory rather than divisive. Second is her ability to tell compelling stories of love. The love affair we should have with ourselves. The pulse-pounding, skin-tingling, heart-melting connection we have with the person we love. A sense of brotherhood and concern for people all over the globe.
The Truth is the essence of what I try to convey in my own storytelling. The stories I’ve written so far feature women who are on a journey of self-growth, learning to learn to love and accept themselves, and experiencing romantic relationships that help them finally see themselves as the remarkable women they truly are.
What songs, stories, or movies have made the biggest impression on you? Is there a song, story, or movie that captures the essence of one of your stories? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
PS: Thank you Demetria for reminding me what a phenomenal storyteller she is.