I Am Not My Hair

Album: Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (2006)
Charted: 65 97
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Songfacts®:

  • The lead single from India.Arie's third studio album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, was penned by the singer with Shannon Sanders and Drew Ramsey. It achieved some moderate chart success, peaking at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The song was originally intended to be a duet between Arie and the R&B singer and Pop-Rocker Pink. It was rooted in the latter's decision to do away with her pink locks. "We both had something to say with this song, and we wanted to work together," Arie explained to Billboard magazine. "This duet should have been the original version on my album, but it fell through the cracks."

    This version was made available on iTunes on October 17, 2006, and was used in the Lifetime television film Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy.
  • The last verse was written after watching Melissa Etheridge's performance on the Grammy Awards, where she appeared bald from her chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. "Her performance brought tears to my eyes," said Arie. "At that moment in time, her performance was a juxtaposition of pain and beauty. It symbolized the beauty of strength."
  • India explained to Neal Conan on NPR's Talk Of The Nation in a 2013 interview that as well as being about hair, the lyrics also go a deeper level. "It's about dogmatic self-definition," she explained, "and on the other hand self-definition and not allowing anyone to define you based on their parameters, you know?"
  • A remix featuring Senegalese-American singer Akon was released to US rhythmic and urban radio formats. Arie told Neal Conan that the remix was commercially driven and wasn't her choice. "Some of the drum sounds," she said, "the way that the bass was, the way that it was mixed, the way that it was marketed on a commercial level. But I'm happy that - in hindsight, I'm happy I did it because it reached more people, you know?"

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