Backstage with India Arie
I've been a fan of India Arie's music since I was a teenager. When I first heard the lyrics to "Ready for Love" (video below), I secretly hoped a girl would dedicate that song to me someday.
"For a man who loves music....A man who loves art.
Respects the spirit world, and thinks with his heart"
Oh! Oh! That's me!! India clearly wrote it as a dedication. How humbling :)
And who would've ever guessed, that over a decade later, I would be lucky enough to be one of the opening acts at an event she's headlining. (The Arizona Jazz Festival). I got to perform my poetry on the same stage as her a few hours before she went on.
I first had a conversation with India Arie's mother, who is an amazing singer herself and shared some great insights. I then saw the beautiful India Arie, draped in white clothing floating towards me like an angel, as fans and paparazzi were fighting for her attention. But India's intention was to connect with her fans first.
I saw her run over to the fence that you see behind us in the photo. This young girl was crying hysterically and grabbed India's hands through the fence and said "I've had cancer the last couple of years...and your music is the only thing that got me through the therapy. Your song "I am not my hair" is what helped me love myself when I was losing my hair to the chemotherapy. Thank you so much. You saved my life." It was such a touching moment to witness and India had tears of gratitude in her eyes.
She signed a few more autographs and then I had the opportunity to talk with her. I asked her if I could ask her a couple questions. During that time, I was just wrapping up the documentary I shot in Thailand called The Secret of Destiny, and I was wondering what her answer would be to that question, so I asked her.
The question put her in a reflective space, and similar to my experience with Lady Gaga, it created a moment of connection and openness. Each time I meet these celebrities, my goal is to ask them questions that they're not used to being asked. Larger than life philosophical conversations are far more important to me than celebrity gossip. We shared a few more words of inspiration with each other and I told her to keep spreading her light. We looked at each other for a few seconds in silence, breathed, and then she put her hands together and bowed down to me. This caught me off guard and humbled me. Did India Arie just Namaste me?! Ahhh....My heart lit up like a child. I then put my hands together and bowed down to her. It was a beautiful moment.
Shortly after, India Arie hit the stage and I took full advantage of my full VIP media pass. Me and only half a dozen other people had access to the head of the stage, in front of the audience. It was amazing getting to see her perform just a couple feet away from me. She truly is one of the most inspirational soul singers of our time. India Arie is a woman who carries herself with class and a level of compassion that touches the deepest parts of your soul.
It was my privilege to get to meet her, connect with her, interview her, and hug her. Another awesome life memory under the belt.
*Shout out to Wisdom Soul for making this possible.