Who Is This?! India Arie Is Virtually Unrecognizable On ‘Cocoa Butter” Single Cover

March 30, 2013  |  

Another day, another case of a skin lightening incident with a celebrity The latest one to fall victim is India Arie. The soul singer recently released the cover art for her new single “Cocoa Butter.” As you can see India is looking not only lighter but a bit unlike herself. (Though her legs and dress are fabulous!)

Folks started questioning her appearance on the cover and according to TMZ a “source close to India” explained India’s thoughts about the photo.

India says she did not ask that her skin be lightened. It was just a product of extreme lighting and the angle at which she was standing.

While I don’t think she asked to be lightened, she did approve the photo. Which is a bit interesting. Though, I really don’t know if it’s a problem. At this point, people should understand that there are tons of lights that go into producing professional photos.

What do you make of India’s photo? Should she have approved it?

And by the way check out the single. Despite the cover, the song has a nice message and sounds like the India we know and love. Check it out and let us know what you think.


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  • MsT

    It is a nice picture, but if the article hadn’t said it was of India Irie, I’d have no idea who this woman is. She looks like a completely different person. It’s a bit disconcerting, but at least her voice is still the same.

  • Ya’ll are so tiresome with these skin lightening accusations.

    I want some of you to take a look at all of your photos and tell me if your skin tone comes out the exact shade in every photo. She’s a recording artists who is going to work with an array of photographers and artistic directors with varying tastes for lighting, angles, drama, etc.

    Just because she appears lighter in one of her many photo shoots, does not mean she is self hating, done sold out, drank the kool-aid, or whatever.

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      Exactly! I have worked in photography and have seen even with my own pictures, sometimes the extremely high powered flash can wash out my skin and make me look lighter than what I really am. I have the same effect when I step into ultra bright sunlight. . .

  • scandalous7

    i bet it was the lighting, yal act like she is midnight dark, which she is not.

  • FromUR2UB

    Lighting. Seems possible. Like the song.

  • Cha Cha

    You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t… So tired of the color issue. Why can’t we just say she looks damn good in the picture. It’s not like she has straight blond hair down her back, straightened her nose, took the thickness out her lips, and made her eye color blue… We still know she’s a black woman. Why do have to say this is self hate because she approved of this picture which just happened to make her look lighter but changed none of her features. Maybe it’s just the best picture she took… Maybe they were all light… Maybe she picked it because she looks strong in it…

    • Guest

      I love what you said.

  • Shay

    Some of the pictures I take with my iphone makes me look lighter than I am. If it’s a good picture, am I going to retake it just so I can look darker. This color thing in our community needs to stop, really. Madame Noire doesn’t help either by pointing it out – each and every time.

  • Ms Miller

    Wow, calm down people! It’s a picture that’s all! So what she looks lighter, does that change who she is, does that change what is important to her. People always want to start controversy when there isn’t any. There are a lot more important things going on in the world than the color of India Arie’s skin on an album cover.

  • KeikeiMontego

    She looks really good! & I love the song. 😉

  • it’s not life or death. she didn’t bleach her own skin or anything, so it should not make anyone else insecure.

  • Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks

    As someone who dabbles in photoshop, this photo clearly has a sepia or other type of overlay. People are overreacting, I am brown skin and when I use an overlay such as the one they used for this I am a million times lighter. India is still staying true to her roots…

    • MLS2698

      Sooo, what’s the purpose of an overlay? A million times lighter, huh? Yeah, I could see how I would want that…… NOT

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      As a former photographer, I can see plain as day that is a case with lighting, not photoshopping lighter skin . . .

      • Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks

        Yeah after I talked to my hubs(a photog) he said that it was lighting not photoshop…

  • Fair and Balanced

    We as black women are criticized at every turn, by Black men, Black women, Caucasians, it seems everyone comes after us. Okay maybe she lightened her skin maybe its just the lighting but whatever it is its her decision as to how she wants to look. Let’s remember we are strong and everyone attacks us because we are strong and have not allowed ourselves to be beaten down by anyone. We have gone through a lot and we are smart enough to weed out those who look like us but that is where it ends. The truth will come out soon enough and bottom line regardless to how society attempts to make it appear we are still the blessed ones far past what the eye can see.

  • D’Andrea Aytes

    Stop using that bullshit lighting excuse. We all take pictures and they don’t come out lighter, flash or no flash. Don’t forget we were using flash cameras before the ones we now use. First Beyonce, now India. I agree with KillingIgnorance; many of us are so ashamed of our beautiful, natural selves. We the only people…. how sad is that…

    • 1Val

      No, we are not the only people ashamed of ourselves. Other minorities adopt Eurocentric standards of beauty to assimilate also. For examples, Asians have eye widening, straight nose bridge, plastic surgeons break elongate their legs, use white lotions, white facial cleanser and white foundations. Asians view having “dark” i.e. yellow skin as ugly so many Asians women avoid the sun to look as pale as they possibly can be. Many Latinas lighten their dark hair, hide accents and stop speaking Spanish.

      India Arie’s gimmicks surpass her talent. India’s marketing shtick of ethnicity is not selling her product anymore. Truthfully, I am more of a fan of India’s message than her voice.

      Pop culture relies on sex appeal instead of talent to prompt today’s sales. So moderately talented vocalist like India without “the look” is today’s struggling artist. Beyonce and Rhiannna are marginally singers with tremendous success because they possess the look to be sex kittens. Whereas vocal powerhouses Ledisi, Fantasia, Lalah, Patti and Anita are regulated to soul music. Since they are undeniable black in voice and appearance. Unfortunately, India regardless of light or dark skin covers just lacks “it” to sell her products.

    • Annette

      Every single black celebrity has some pics that make them appear lighter and other pics that make them appear darker. Every one of them. Do you really think that every one of them is lightening their skin? India is probably so unbothered by skin color she didn’t even give it too much thought when she approved the photo. I mean she’s standing there in a head wrap and afrocentric clothing, and you say she’s not a proof black soundb because this photo came out light. Give her a break.

      • Annette

        Proof black soundb = proud black woman

        I have a stupid phone.

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      Yeah you clearly don’t have a clue about photography or have never stepped outside on a really bright day . . .

  • Meyaka

    I don’t know what to make of this… Ill wait to see a recent out and about picture of her to make a judgment .

  • Bri

    Oooooh Myyyy Gooosssh! Not everybody is trying to be light-skinned!

    I’ve taken pictures that made my legs look longer than they are. I’ve taken pictures where my lip gloss made my lips look larger than they are. I’ve taken pictures at angles that make my nose appear larger/smaller. I’ve taken pictures where the lighting has made my hair look lighter. Am I denying who I am? NO! Cooome ooon, people. We KNOW India is not insecure about her brown skin.

    • mac

      thank goodness, someone with sense.

      I rarely photograph exactly how I look in person, to the T. Depending on the camera and especially lighting, I tend to photograph lighter occasionally.

      More importantly, many people don’t realize how many lights there are on a professional set. In addition to that, photographers and retouchers have their own way of editing photos, and the hue of the photo may change during post production. It doesn’t mean there was any racial intent.

      Black people are always itching to accuse someone of bleaching, getting a nose job, or any other kind of modification. Maybe it’s y’all with the insecurities.

    • Kliv

      Good answer!!!! Good answer!!!! (Family feud voice)

  • Overdramatics

    People overdo everything. So when you take a picture with the flash that clearly makes you brighter, you don’t post them on your Facebook? Share them with others? We all know she’s not bleaching &is proud of her black beauty. I see no problem since I love her &I’m guessing she figured her fans would look past THE FLASH of a pic.

  • minerva

    might post twice(sorry):
    since Obama became president, we’ve seen racists come out of the woodwork-
    do WE have to follow suit-with our own?!?
    Black empowerment is about uplifting the community, not putting it down…
    until SOME learn this, we haven’t got a chance!!

  • Thatkid

    ……i want everyone to act like their roots and relax. Let us ignore her natural hair, her male up accommodating her beautiful brown skin, her still full nose and the beauty of her L’eggs signaling that she is an African American woman who works out. Her skin doesn’t look as dark, it is clearly lighting. Build a bridge. It is overwhelmingly irritating how negative we are forward one another. It seems I would have to be Michelle Obama with the skin time of Grace Jones to be worth something. The positive things I saw…were really the first that I saw! India, despite being caramel when we know she’s beautifully chocolate, looks beautiful. You guys act as if magazines and album covers aren’t photoshopped and edited often. She still stuck to her proud roots; she looks beautiful still. Im a junior in high school and I see so much more than her skin tone; I see her beauty as a whole. Aren’t yall thirty something? Which means surely your minds are a tad broader? she approved the picture, did you ever stop to think perhaps all of the pictures had that lighting?Lift each other up. Were all we have.

    • mac


      • mac

        when a 16-17 year old has to be the voice of reason, there is an issue here.

        @4556c1744513a64baed66bc4e619d0b8:disqus you are wise beyond your years

  • Candacey Doris

    I don’t know if i like the pic. I mean the clothes are cute, it’s just a different India Arie than i’m used to seeing. I’ll give it a pass if the music is good.

  • iHM

    I do think it’s a problem. For her, specifically. I’m not sure that it’s a big deal when other people do it but when she does it, it’s very hypocritical considering that she based her entire career off of being happy with her dark brown skin, being unique and not being like the other pop stars. Then you look at this picture and it spits in the face of everything she claims to stand for. I don’t respect that. She probably has enough money to hire a photog who can use lights and still preserve her true color.. and even if it’s not possible, she could have turned to photoshop to darken her skin back up to it’s normal color. There is no excuse. She approved it.

  • Guest

    Isn’t this the same woman who made the record “Brown Skin?”

  • Realtalk

    I’m not understanding how this is any different from the millions of Black women who walk around wearing Indian/European/horse hair on their heads with an absolutely straight-no-chaser facial expression.

    • TRUTH IS

      So you are condoning this kind of self hate?? How about be proud of what God gave you. He knows what’s he is doing.

    • kierah

      India has made a career out of Black pride of our natural beauty so for HER to do this seems hypocritical. It makes it seem like her entire stance was just a gimmick.

      Why would she allow them to light her like this? If it were me, I would notice immediately that the photos don’t look a daggone thing like me and I would ask for a retake. It’s obvious the photographer was trying to lighten her skin by lighting or retouching.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    Relax. when you use high power flash in photography, your skin can and will lighten drastically from the flash. . .

  • G’dyss

    no matter how light or dark a photo prints you, can always fix that with software, we’ve all heard of photoshop, etc. you can do lots of things using software besides adding/removing body parts, so she gets the “dang, you too?” face

    • Chey

      my exact thoughts!

  • no she should not have appoved the lighter look

  • Guest360

    I’m not sure if this is a lighting issue or if they doctored these photos or what but come on now. You knew you looked lighter in your pictures and APPROVED of them. How did you not know?

  • SMFH ITS SO SAD HOW BLACK WOMEN HATE THEIR FREATURES & people if it was a mistake & just the lighting she wouldnt have it as her cover photo

  • Kenedy

    It looks like lighting to me

  • The thing that gets me is… she approved the photo as her single cover, and now that it’s receiving flack, her only response was “I didn’t know I was going to be that light.” India, cut it out! Your eyes work just like the rest of ours! OAN, I am loving that dress tho!


    LAwddd…homegirl done sell out,….what is their message really? *confused look*