‘I’m Always Gonna Speak My Mind’: India.Arie Hits Back At Critics Claiming She Called Out Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monae, Says She Was Criticizing Festival for Glamorizing Twerking Onstage

India.Arie wants the truth to be heard after bearing witness to the contrived media frenzy over her recent controversial remarks.

Earlier this month, Arie was pummeled with criticism when it appeared as though she lambasted Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monae for encouraging Essence Festival attendees to twerk on stage during the rapper’s performance.

India.Arie says Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monae’s on-stage antics at Essence Festival lacked discernment. (Photos: @Indiaarie/Instagram and @essencefest/Instagram)

She said there was a lack of context and that the rump-shaking showed a lack of discernment and discretion. Despite expressing her love for her fellow artists, Arie was still accused of policing Black women and pushing antiquated “respectability politics” on the festival’s targeted younger audience.

In a new post, she set the record straight about the intention of her much-debated comment. “Take a moment to hear my [heart emoji] And if you feel it – SHARE it – so that the truth can be LOUDER than the lie,” read the caption.

She began, “If I were addressing Janelle Monte and Meg Thee Stallion that would have been clear … Who I was addressing were the people in the comments, explaining to them that the video in question — not Meg Thee Stallion, not Janelle — but the video in question was out of context for the ESSENCE Festival.”

The “Brown Skin” vocalist explained her comment was in defense of someone else’s remark about feeling as though their trust in the Essence brand had been broken by the departure from its “wholesome” entertainment.

“The brand shifted right under people’s feet … We all know everybody twerks…we weren’t saying that they shouldn’t do what they do. What we’re saying is context, which is what my message said,” added Arie.

She also expressed that she had hoped that she’d earned the benefit of the doubt and that fans would know her message came from a place of love and not judgment. She credited her artistry as proof that she has always been about uplifting Black people.

“I’ve been about this. I’m still about this … I speak my mind, I share my ideas and I’m always going to…I’m always gonna speak my mind, always have,” said the Grammy award winner.

Fans and critics sounded off on social media writing:

“Sis spoke the truth let’s respect what essence represents in women as whole culture.”

“You don’t need to clarify…. You said what you said.”

“GIRL. We do not care. Shut your floor length denim skirt wearing zza up.”

“There should be a balance. I get what she’s saying not all black women are twerking out here.”

In closing, the outspoken artist reminded the public that she will never sit by idly as others paint a false picture of her or allow her words to be weaponized against other Black women.

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