India Taught Me: 5 Life Lessons Learned From India Arie

May 23, 2012  |  

India Arie is, in my opinion, one of the most talented artists, lyrically speaking of our time. Unlike most of the fluff that we hear on the radio today, her music has substance. The positivity that oozes from her messages have the potential to turn just about any frown upside down. If you so much as halfway listen to her lyrics it is almost guaranteed that you will walk away having learned a life lesson.

Love yourself!

India Arie first emerged on the scene with her debut single “Video” in 2001, which eventually turned out to be the everyday woman’s anthem because it promoted self-love at its best. While many people were somewhat shallow and unreceptive of if it, it served as inspiration for women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. In this song India Arie served as an advocate for the average woman during a time where self-image was becoming extremely distorted by unrealistic standards set by the media. She let it be known that it is possible to be happy and content with who you are. She went on to receive four Grammy nominations for the song.

Appreciate the simple pleasures that life offers

While it is great to have goals and things that you are working towards it is so easy to miss out on the simple things. In 2002 India released “Little Things,” which was a song bringing attention to some of the smaller treasures in life that people often overlook and take for granted until they no longer have them. Ironically, most of these things are intangible and can’t be purchased. Taking inventory of the simple things that make you happy are crucial to leading a much more happy and fruitful lifestyle.

Forgiveness is crucial

While many artists put out songs and having your heart broken, making it easy to nurse your wounds, stay mad, and wallow in your misery, I have yet to hear many artists that tell you after you’ve cried and picked yourself up, you have to forgive. “One shot to your heart without breaking your skin,” who can possibly summarize a broken heart better than that? In 2007 India Arie released “Get It Together,” which was a song highlighting the importance of forgiving and letting go of past hurts not merely to appease the person that hurt you or to be all self-righteous, but so that you yourself can attain mental freedom and finally move on. Harry Emerson Fosdick once said “Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it.” India most definitely echoes this philosophy in this song.

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams

It can be a little frightening to step outside of your comfort zone and chase after your dreams with the possibility of failure constantly looming in the back of your mind. In her 2001 release, “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom” encourages others to “step out on faith,” leave procrastination behind and dig deep within because they already posses what it takes to make their dreams come true.

It’s just hair!

As a woman who has always been pretty vain about her hair, this was a difficult concept for me to grasp at first, but when I got it I got it! Many black women have been slaves to their hair because many of us were born into the ideology that the way in which we wear our hair somehow defines us. In 2006 India Arie appeared to be somewhat of a revolutionary when she released “I Am Not My Hair” because she is one of few artists to even discuss this topic. She separated the hair from the woman as to say, yes, your hair is a part of you but it in no way defines you. Yes, everyone wants great looking hair, but you are who you are no matter how your hair looks.




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  • lilkunta

     i have loved India Arie since jan 01 when I first heard Video. I relate to every song, i love her wordplay. She is so talented and Im so greatfuk/grateful that she is sharing her music. SLOWTOWN fvcked up again.

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  • Caroneisha

    Oh yes, “Ready For Love,” ” He is the truth,” and ” Brown skin.”  These are my favortive songs, it’s like she took my thoughts and put them into songs. I really love this women and all that she has to say, she should have all that Bey has and more. She is truly timeless, may god bless her and all that she does.

    • Toni Lawrence

      iam 61 yrs old and ive been a huge fan of hers for yrs one of my favoite songs are the duets she has done with guys their names escapes me right now but i read everthing about her .  i love her natural hair  i presently wear waist lengh locs. she is frequently on my computer screen safer i hope to see her one  day in  concert.

  • Phattygurl783

    Definitely one of the best! A real sister inside and out! Love her!

  • Bustamovephilly

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! India.Arie!!! Her music speaks to my soul. Strength, courage and wisdom is my personal theme song!

  • superwoman

    India keeps it real! I love, love her music.

  • Nay

    This lady is my IDOL! Love her to death!

  • Me and You

    She is the reason I have so much confidence…and the reason I am going natural…my role model!!!

  • Sunni

    India.Arie is my aunt in my head. This is a good article, but those are just touching the surface of the things I’ve learned from listening to her music. “Can I Walk with You” should DEFINITELY be on this list, and more of her songs that aren’t really heard of.

  • jay bee

    Love this chick!  You don’t just “hear” her music; you experience it.