India.Arie E-Mails Fans

India.Arie 'Acoustic Soul'

emailed fans today apologizing for not having communicated with fans more this year. Arie talked about how she loved the fans posting on the message board and that she read every week. Arie also addressed the recent talk where she’s been criticized for pitching The Gap in the store’s recent campaign. Read on for her full comments.

Greetings Family,

This is your sister India Arie with a long over due message. I ask your forgiveness for being away from the board all year, although I do read your posts every week I just haven’t had the time to respond. Now, as the year ends and I’m taking the time I scheduled for vacation way back in January (it seems so long ago), the first thing I wanna do is make contact with Ya’ll.

I wanna thank those of you who post your Love, your art, your opinions and even your criticisms. The dialogue between you all is inspiring to me. I know we are all very intelligent here, however, I still find my self surprised and moved by the way a lot of you all write, by the passion in your words. I CONSIDER THAT YOUR GIFT TO ME. I’ve visited a lot of the MP3 locations I’ve seen posted, I read your poems, and I am thankful for those of you who identify with me through my music and taking the time out to say so. I’ve held this Ideal about the healing power of music for a long time and I asked God to use me in that way. Through your feed back, I have seen first hand that music can actually be constructive (and destructive). But as My God father said just yesterday “Where there is light there can be no darkness” and ya’ll have given me inspiration to *SHINE*.

Even your criticisms of me are welcome, which brings me to the DU DU DDUUUUUUUUU!!!!!! THE GAP AD!

Today, I read the back and forth conversations on the boards concerning my decision to do the GAP ads. I agree with a lot of the opinions expressed on both sides and being a very critical person my self(I have a lot of Virgo energy :-)), I know that I gotta gracefully take a dose of my own medicine.

My mother has been telling me since the age of ten “watch how you live cause you’re gonna be famous and influential someday” and until now I didn’t really know what she meant. It’s strange to go from playing guitar in the park 5 years ago to having everything I do scrutinized through a filter of someone’s perception of me.

Everything that I sing about comes from my heart, it’s truly how I feel, I am fully aware of my spirits guides working through me because I, as a person am not as wise as my lyrics. It’s just that the truth comes out when I am writing, and a serious healing has taken place in my life as a result. That healing energy is my motivation for working to spread these vibrations as far and wide as possible.

There’s a war going on between good and evil and I wanna use the gift of music to bring enLIGHTenment. Betty Wright told me “you gotta let your light shine even if it’s only a match”. It may appear that my words and deeds don’t add up, but everything I’m doing is an attempt to bring attention to the message of love.

NO, I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT DO THE GAP ADS FOR THE MONEY(you may not know how the music business works, but believe me I ain’t no rich woman). I did it for the recognition, to get my name out to the masses, I did it to make the point that we don’t have to dress like Lil’ Kim to be beautiful.

As a co-operation. GAP is big business. To be that big you gotta be steppin’ on someone’s toes. Most co-operations have unethical business practices(the music industry too). You don’t fight fire with fire. GAP sees me as “an interesting looking black girl” I, AM, MOTHER’S DAUGHTER! Know I am a powerful woman doing Gods work. To look at vogue and see Britney Spears on the front cover and my strong African self on the back is a candle in the darkness.

My desire to have as many people hears my words and voice sometimes puts me in catch 22 situations. The Whole idea of being on a major label is another example of this. I am the boss of a 17 man crew, (actually it’s a 14 man, 3 woman crew). Believe me when I say that’s a lot for me(the Libra woman who feels like a girl on the inside). I’ve been VERY overwhelmed, I’ve been in a lot of humbling situations, finding out that the music industry doesn’t have anything to do with GOOD MUSIC-ASK JILL SCOTT (and yes I, AM NOW!!!) TALK ABOUT BIG BUSINESS! Motown ain’t no little house in Detroit Ya”ll. BUSINESS. It is regular lingo for label employees to refer to our albums, ERYKAH, JAMES BROWN, MAHALIA JACKSON, STEVIE WONDER, ALL OF US as PRODUCT that’s all we are to them, product.

Labels exploit Women, and black folks, and children worldwide. The mass distribution of music and music videos is largely the blame for the personal hell teenagers are living in. Does any of this mean I can’t use them to promote My message? I feel like God trusts me enough to put me in the midst of darkness, and I’m gonna let my light shine.

Music is not a hobby or a way to make money, IT’S MY CALLING and I will answer the best way know how. With all my imperfections, I still carry myself and present my music with the most integrity possible. I know that a sure way to fail is to try and please everybody. I hope yawl can feel me on this. And I hope yawl will continue to support me, as I will continue to share my thoughts with you.

Stay tuned for part two of this letter coming soon.

Much Love, Many Blessings
Strength, Courage & Wisdom

India Arie

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