R&B singer India.Arie took to Instagram recently to criticize Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monáe’s performances at the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture.
The festival, which took place over the July 4th holiday weekend, wrapped up its nightly concert series and celebration of 50 years of hip-hop with a headlining set by Megan Thee Stallion.
The Houston rapper delivered a high-energy show featuring her biggest hits, including 2020’s “Body.”
Toward the end of her performance, the rapper selected dozens of fans from the audience to join her on stage and show off their twerking skills.
Janelle Monáe joined the fun on stage, clapping along and encouraging fans.
The singer performed earlier in the festival, at one point flashing a breast during her rendition of 2015’s “Yoga.”
Following the performances, India.Arie voiced her concerns in a comment on Essence’s Instagram page, saying Megan and Janelle’s behavior lacked “discretion.”
The outlet shared a video of Megan and Monáe on stage, captioning the post: “Hot girl bootcamp was in full effect last night. It’s @janellemonae with the encouragement for us.”
The Neighborhood Talk captured Essence’s post along with India. Arie’s comment.
“The issue is what is CONTEXT,” India.Arie commented. “Humanity does EVERYTHING. But does EVERYTHING BELONG IN A STAGE. No, is everything for KIDS? No, is everything for EVERY BODY? so when we as a culture make something like this main stream ~ it shows a lack of discretion [and] discernment.”
She continued, “Just as many folks have the right to want our MAINSTREAM International export – our Music – to show us in a respectful light. Id like to go on the record saying : this wont age well and thats my issue.”
India.Arie went on to explain that while she still loves Megan and Monáe, in “the way I love us all,” that doesn’t mean she approved of their behavior. “I don’t like this moment. Don’t bother debating me lol idc and I DO this. for 25 yrs I’ve done THIS. so. read ponder or don’t,” she added.
Social media users went on to debate with the soul singer in the comments. See the post featuring Megan and Monáe’s performance, and India. Arie’s comment, below: