India.Arie Explains Megan Thee Stallion & Janelle Monae Criticism

The singer-songwriter stood by her support, but also her critique, of the two stars' performance at Essence Fest.

BYGabriel Bras Nevares
India.Aire Performs At BGR! Fest

Singer-songwriter India.Arie took issue with Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monae's twerking competition at Essence Fest this year, and people weren't happy about it. Regardless of the backlash, she stood by her comments in a recently published series on Instagram Stories. "I HATE defending simple logic, so I’m going to just say this,” she began. “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 IT’S SELF. I LOVE humanity, even in all it’s bulls**t LOL! All I’m saying is CONTEXT MATTERS. Debate that if you want, lol .. but I said what I said.

"And WHY did I say it?" India.Arie continued. "Because just like EVERYYYONE ELSE, I am entitled to my opinion. BUT ALSO, I DO THIS WORK. My whole adult LIFE.. the work of UPLIFTING and LOVING and 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 hours at all times… In the name of HEALING. So, when I see something that sparks my PERSONAL mission… I speak. There’s not 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.

Read More: Megan Thee Stallion’s Essence Festival Twerk Session Proves She’s Been Putting In Work At The Gym

India.Arie's Defense

"I love all, ALL of the female artists, because I KNOW FIRST HAND how hard it is to BE ONE," India.Arie remarked. "I’ve released 8 albums. And have myself played the ESSENCE main stage… 6 (?) times? What I see, here is the main streaming 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," she concluded. "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. 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 cr*zy to me the level of explanation needed. And why is everything a thing. [laughing emojis] IT YOU! Not me lol." Stick around on HNHH for the latest on India.Arie, Megan Thee Stallion, and Janelle Monae.

Read More: Janelle Monáe “The Age of Pleasure” Review


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About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.