I Am Not My Hair

1445 Words Dec 1st, 2016 6 Pages
It was December 2006, I was nine years old, and that was the first time I had ever heard India Arie’s songs; “Video” & “I Am Not My Hair”. While both of these songs are inspired by rhythm & blues, and Neo-Soul, their overarching meanings are somewhat different. “Video”, is a powerful self-love anthem; in this song, India Arie celebrates who she is naturally, and acknowledges that she would not change who she is. “I Am Not My Hair” is more complex because while it acknowledges the versatility of Black hair, it also pushes the idea that one’s hair does not define who you are as a person. While “I Am Not My Hair” seems to push Black hairstyles to the background, I want to argue that both “I Am Not My Hair” and “Video” are songs that celebrate the idea that “black is beautiful”. In this paper, by focusing on, India Arie’s references to black hair and self-love, I intend to draw connections between these two songs and the Civil Rights/Black Power movements as well as the concept that black is beautiful. To draw these connections, I will focus on Nina Simone’s song, “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”. Does “I Am Not My Hair” take away from the symbol that the Afro was during the 1960’s, representing black is beautiful? What can be understood by India Arie writing these two songs during a time when it appeared that blackness was not as celebrated? How is this similar or different from Nina Simone’s song? In this paper, I will focus on these questions in order to analyze…

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