India Arie (or india.arie) has sold over 10 million albums worldwide thanks in part to her double-platinum 2001 debut Acoustic Soul. With over two decades of experience, the veteran R&B singer has endured the highs and lows of the music industry. So when the Denver, Colorado native took notice of the viral 10-year challenge (#10YEARCHALLENGED) on social media, she used it as the perfect opportunity to speak her truth.
The idea behind the challenge is simple: post a photo of yourself 10 years ago and place it side-by-side to a current photo. But apparently, upon seeing some of her old photos, India Arie was reminded just how brutal the industry can be. In a series of posts uploaded to her Instagram Stories, Arie shared how painful it was for her.
“Seeing old pictures reminds me of how TRASH the music industry is,” she began. “SHEER and utter Trash. The music industry is racist.sexist.deceitful. It steals from artists. Trash. I’ll never heal from all of it because some of it shaped my life in ways I can’t get back. BUT! I LOOOOOVE who I am. So, I imagine the journey was meant to be. But those old pictures. The industry made me feel like I WASN’T beautiful. I can tell you some STORIES HONEY!”
While India Arie didn’t detail any specifics, the 46-year-old went on to explain why she’s now grateful for everything she endured.
“But in truth — I was just WAY ahead of my time,” she continued. “I used to really try to do everything right. Now? I do what’s honest. I’m grateful to have been heard! but also I paid a HIGH cost. And for ANYONE who I paved the way for — YOU are why it was all worth it.”
She added, “I HAVE GROWN FREE! And MORE beautiful. And exponentially SOULFUL! So. the journey was worth it. And MY MOST POWERFUL DAYS ARE STILL TO COME! And to everyone who in the industry who hurt, used, sued, played, stole from, betrayed me. THANK YOU. And Also [Fuck You].”
India Arie has released six studio albums during the course of her career, including 2002’s platinum-selling Voyage To India and the No. 1 Billboard 200 effort Testimony, Vol. 1: Life & Relationship. In September 2018, she premiered her new single “That Magic,” which served as the lead single from her 2019 album Worthy.