A pen and paper, full of song lyrics, are on a desk inside India.Arie’s home. She steps outside, wearing jeans with a patch that says “Love Yourself.” On the porch, lies her flower decorated guitar. She stands at the fence, observing and plays with hair. She grabs her guitar and gets on her bike.

Before she had left, she examined her face in the mirror. She is happy with the way she looks.

Four stereotypical pretty girls by walk in a pack. India.Arie gives them a wary smile. However, one of them pulls her inside for a video audition. Standing on state, holding her number upside down, she feels out of place. When she auditions, she flexes and waves her arms in the air. Meanwhile, the other girls stand there and touch their stomachs and pout.

Leaving the audition, she gets in her bike in the back of the building. However, one of the oranges falls out of her bag. A nice, older man hands her another one from his tree.

While on her bike ride, she closes her eyes and lets her arms hang out. She stops to sing under a billboard that reads “India Queen Locally Grown With Acoustic Soul” with a couple of oranges painted in the center. After performing, she bike rides back home.

 

         Rating: 4/5

India.Arie was a decade ahead of her peers and subverted the genre. First, she released a song about how proud of she is of herself. She’s a free spirit and while she does stay within fashion (crop top and low-rise jeans), she also adds patches of flowers and badges to her clothes. Self esteem songs wouldn’t become popular until about seven years later.

Second, there isn’t a choreographed dance routine or male bashing. The word “queen” is used which again, wouldn’t become a popular phrase on Twitter until about 2011 or so. There isn’t a emphasis on fashion. It’s opposite of what the usual Top 40 video offered.

For a young woman, it’s a strong and brave position to take, considering Beyoncé wouldn’t even begin tackling such issues until the mid-10s. During this time, she was the average girl in the video. India.Arie, however, strives to be something more, which should be commended.

Director: Terry Heller  Year: 2000