Is that you, India Arie?

The 37-year-old star is almost unrecognizable in the cover image from her new single "Cocoa Butter," which is causing a lot of backlash and many to believe that she has been lightening her skin. This is quite a shock considering the afro-centric R&B singer is known for promoting black beauty-- most notably expressed in her hit songs "Brown Skin" and "I Am Not My Hair."

Sources close to India told TMZ that her "lightened" skin tone is the result of the camera flash and angle. And added that the singer never asked to be lightened. Nevertheless, the celebrity website makes the valid point that India approved the photo without correcting the color of her skin.

Check out this photo TMZ pulled together on India's "Cocoa Butter" cover and an Image from 2012 to highlight the stark difference:
india arie

We're also a bit confused about this image since India recently spoke out about the skin color controversy surrounding the Nina Simone biopic. Extremely upset by the photos of Zoe Saldana's darkened skin and fake afro on set for the film, India wrote the following on her website:

"Yes there should be a movie made, and YES they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT and WHY, she was."

Issues surrounding skin aren't uncommon in show business. You might recall that Beyonce has been accused on several occasions (see: here and here) of lightening her skin as well. And Kelly Rowland recently spoke out about the path towards learning to appreciate her dark skin.

What do you think of India Arie's "Cocoa Butter" photo? Do you believe she lightened her skin on purpose?
india arie

UPDATE: India Aria has responded to the accusations with a Tweet and longer statement on her Facebook page.

Love to all #SoulBirdsWorldWide are you ready for this #SongVersation ?

Personally speaking! I'm happy to say I have NOT BLEACHED my skin LOL! ROTF at the thought.

1. I wouldn't endanger my health that way

2. i'm so in love with myself I have no DESIRE to BLEACH myself. Lol

3. The GLOW you see IS (magnificent) lighting

4. THE LIGHT you see, Well thats all ME!!

Politically speaking racism/colorism in the black community is a MUUUUUUUCH larger #SongVersation #skinversaton

THAT I'd LOVE to "shed light on"..that conversation IS REAL, ...let's keep talking. #SongVersation #soulbirdsworldwide

Big love to ALL #soulbirdsworldwide

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