India Arie Keeps It Real: Twerking at Essence and the Power of Personal Presentation


Hey, y’all! Let’s talk about India Arie calling out twerking at Essence. Now, first and foremost, let me make it clear that I try my best not to judge people, especially women. We face enough scrutiny as it is. But here’s the deal: presentation matters, especially in this digital age we’re living in. What you put out there can stick around for years, and we’re seeing old videos and photos resurfacing like it’s nobody’s business. Freaknik, anyone? I didn’t attend, but I remember the Players Ball at Georgia Southern University. Cameras were flashing everywhere, and you bet your bottom dollar I avoided them. I had to protect myself and my future and at 18 years old I had enough sense to understand what could happen.

So, India Arie called out artists like Megan Thee Stallion, and I gotta say, I think she missed the mark on this one. Twerking is a part of Megan’s career, and you’re gonna ask her to be responsible for grown people who know they ain’t entertainers? Come on now. Twerk contests and getting on stage to shake what your mama gave you ain’t nothing new. It’s just that now, with social media, you see it everywhere you look. But here’s the thing, y’all: let’s not forget that in this conversation, the blame ain’t on Megan the Stallion. Nah, we need to be pointing fingers at the men who built the hip-hop industry and the messed-up imagery they used to sell their music. Megan took their formula, flipped it, and made it work for her. She ain’t like them video vixens who got used and paid peanuts. She’s a multi-millionaire. I cannot knock her hustle.  Maybe where Megan missed the mark was that she brought up audience participants and not just kept it to her dancers. 

But here’s where things get tricky. We got two conversations happening, and we aren’t even realizing it. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that some of these women don’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. Megan the Stallion, she’s an entertainer. She creates a whole fantasy as part of her job, and we eat it up. But these ladies who are out there twerking their hearts out, they got their own jobs, goals, and futures that probably don’t involve being dancers or entertainers. 

There’s a time and place for everything, y’all. I’m all about personal expression, but we gotta be mindful of the consequences. We can’t control every aspect of our online presence, but we sure can be conscious of the choices we make. Let’s be real, the world isn’t fair, especially for us Black women. But we can’t let that stop us from striving for excellence and protecting ourselves. India Arie might have her own perspective, but it’s crucial to remember that we all got different journeys, different dreams, and different ways of making things happen.




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