india.arie (new and old)*India.Arie has a new CD, “Cocoa Butter,” coming out shortly and it’s making a lot of noise, but for all the wrong reasons it seems.

The Grammy winning singer/songwriter is being accused of lightening her skin or should we say having her skin lightened via Photoshop if you know what we mean.

Ms Arie is taking exception to the notion and is speaking out:

“I’m happy to say I have not bleached my skin,” she tweeted, later telling ESSENCE.com, “I’m still digesting all this and I’m interested in carrying the conversation forward.”

Here’s some of the interview she did with ESSENCE:

Her reaction to being accused of lightening her skin:
I’m still digesting that and gathering my thoughts because one of the things I learned about myself in the past four years is that if I ask God to be able to be a person who is heard when they speak then I need to be clear about what I’m saying. I just feel like this is something that people have inside of them that they’re projecting outward. I don’t feel a need to defend myself, but I do feel a desire to continue this conversation because it’s a real cultural pain in our community.”

She wonders why people are focusing on her skin tone, when there are other things she’s been scrutinized for. 
Nobody talked about if I were too muscular or if I fit into a beauty ideal—you know that’s been a conversation about me all these years too,” she says. “Nobody talks about that because that’s not the conversation to have. There is a misperception about this, a very profound misperception, but it’ll all be cleared. I have faith in my reputation and that will carry.”

She has things she’d like to change about herself, but it’s not her skin.
There are things about myself that I wouldn’t mind changing,” she says. “In my younger days I may have questioned why this or that, but it was never ever my skin tone. That’s why I sing about loving my skin so much because I really do. I always wished I were darker like my dad.”

Read the rest of this interview at ESSENCE.