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Megan the Stallion, India.Aire, Janelle Monae

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In the world of music and entertainment, artists often push boundaries and express themselves in unique ways during their performances. However, when veteran neo-soul singer, India.Arie recently voiced her disapproval of Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monáe‘s stage antics at Essence Fest, she found herself caught in a storm of online backlash.

The criticism has sparked a larger question: Does India.Arie have a point?

The controversy began when Meg and Monáe took the stage at the annual Essence Festival last weekend in a pair of electrifying performances that quickly went viral.

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During Monáe’s performance of the popular song “Yoga,” she surprised the audience by lifting one side of her bikini top, momentarily revealing her breast (which was covered with a pasty). Meanwhile, Megan Thee Stallion showcased her trademark moves, including staging an apparent twerking contest, during her performance. Soon afterward, India.Arie felt compelled to express her concerns.

Taking to Instagram, India.Arie addressed the issue of “context” and discretion in live performances. She questioned whether every action belongs on the stage, particularly considering the presence of children in the audience. India.Arie went on to say she believed that such displays lacked taste and showcased a lack of respect for the art form.

Despite her attempt to convey her thoughts in what she deemed was a respectful manner, the internet responded with a wave of its own criticism for the singer. Social media users labeled India.Arie as out of touch and called her a bitter “old head.” Another running theme was how the singer has no right to judge women. Social media platforms were flooded with comments — some calling her out, others in support, both sides further fueling the backlash.

However, India.Arie said she is standing by her comments. Clarifying that her critique was aimed at the artists’ performances rather than their personal character, she emphasized in a series of Instagram Stories, her love and admiration for Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monáe. India.Arie also reiterated her desire to see the music industry portray artists in a more respectful light.

It’s worth noting that India.Arie’s criticism didn’t mention any other entertainers who performed at Essence Fest, some of whom used explicit language, like Jill Scott and Lil Wayne, further adding to the discussion surrounding the apparent selectiveness of her critique limited solely to the performances of Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monáe.

On Wednesday, Monáe — who has been making headlines this summer for going topless in other instances — may or may not have tried to get the last word in by posting an Instagram video showing herself and other scantily clad women happily dancing suggestively.

So does India.Arie have a point or nah?


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