“Some people were really getting crazy and just being disrespectful and I wanted to snap back [but] I didn’t,” she admits. “If it were true, and it’s not, it would have been a huge betrayal because of my reputation and what I’m about,” she says. “The black community has a certain ownership of me, and it’s beautiful and I’m proud of that.”

Since her self-imposed exile, she’s come to cherish her unique role even more.

“You know, I was in my early twenties when I came out. I was a kid. Now I’m an adult, I’m a woman. I’m even more committed and more clear about what my message is, and more empowered to carry that message further.”

Coming full circle, India insists “I don’t sing because I’ve got all the answers and I’ve got it all figured out. I sing because I’m on that journey too, to be the best person I can be. Whoever it resonates with, I’m happy. I know that it’s not for some people, and I’m okay with that, too.”

This time around, she’s making time for self and is expanding her company, SoulBird.

“These past 10 years, I’ve never had any time for other things that I love to do, such as jewelry and clothes. And maybe [I will make time for] a relationship,” she sneaks in. “I can’t see it, but I feel something. I needed time to heal, and now I’m ready.”

India.Arie: “Love Yourself First”  was originally published on

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