Listening to India Arie’s incredibly upbeat and positive third album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, is almost enough to make a girl feel bad. Bad about not loving her body enough. Bad about that time she kept her hair long just to please someone else. Bad about holding a grudge against her ex. Bad about holding someone else down to get ahead.
In an era where the Pussycat Dolls and the Nellie Furtatos of the world are constantly competing to see who can wear the shortest skirt and still manage to sing a song, Arie’s latest offering is both refreshing and needed. After a four-year hiatus, including a humanitarian AIDS relief effort to South Africa, Arie uses her soulful crooning to speak up for what she believes, telling all people to be strong, love themselves and “stand up for your rights/and show the world your smile.”
With strong lyrics like: “I’m having a private party/learning how to love me/celebrating the woman I’ve become…My body is beautiful/it’s sacred/and I’m going to celebrate it,”combined wih solid musical talent, Arie proves it’s possible to produce a competent record without selling herself, or selling herself short.