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:
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?
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
2012 MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Paul McCartney - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer India Arie arrives at the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute To Paul McCartney held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
India.Arie arrives on the red carpet at
India.Arie arrives on the red carpet at the 52nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on January 31, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Gabriel BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize Concert - Press Conference
OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 11: India.Arie attends the Nobel Peace Prize Concert press conference at the Plaza Hotel on December 11, 2010 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Sandy Young/ Getty Images for Nobel Peace Prize Concert)
Apollo Theater Fourth Annual Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony
NEW YORK - JUNE 02: Singer India.Arie attends the Apollo Theater Fourth Annual Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Apollo Theater on May 2, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize Concert
OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 11: India.Arie performs during the Nobel Peace Prize Concert at Oslo Spektrum on December 11, 2010 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Sandy Young/ Getty Images for Nobel Peace Prize Concert)
2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen - Arrivals
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer India Arie arrives at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
43rd NAACP Image Awards - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Singer India Arie arrives at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)
39th NAACP Image Awards - Backstage
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: ***EXCLUSIVE ACCESS*** Joyce Simpson and singer India.Arie backstage at the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for NAACP)
BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 - CHEVY Red Carpet
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Singer India Arie attends BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 CHEVY Red Carpet at Paradise Theater on October 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for BET)
GEMS Benefit Gala For Girls Educational And Mentoring Services
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: India Arie attends GEMS Benefit Gala For Girls Educational And Mentoring Services at El Museo Del Barrio on October 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Lupus Foundation Of America Butterfly Gala 2012
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Singer India Arie performs Lupus Foundation of America Butterfly Gala 2012 at Gotham Hall on October 18, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for The Lupus Foundation Of America)