The history behind “I Am Not My Hair” and why it was written exemplifies the use of sociological imagination by using the song to shift who decides to and have the power of self-definition.

India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” wasn’t only created to just reflect social issues of society,but also personal issues of oneself. Though the idea that sociological imagination is done from an etic perspective , the song reflectsthe experiences that she has faced because of her as a black women growing up in this society.

Nevertheless, the song also discusses the experiences of others that she’d seen or heard about. She was able to take herself out of the situation, and be able to see the dilemma that other women, not just women of color, go through when it comes to self-expression through one’s hair; therefore adding an etic perspective to the song.

The song was released in 2005, where India.Arie is singing by herself, but before it was released, the original version had featured artist Pink. India.Arie stated that they both had something to contribute to the song, between the India.Arie’s narrative of self-definition through hair and Pink’s decision to cut off her dreadlocks; however, this particular version of the song wasn’t released until 2006.

India.Arie also mentions in an interview that the last line stemmed from her watching Melissa Etheridge’s 2005 Grammy performance. That line reads, “breast cancer and chemotherapy/ took away her pride and glory/ she promised God if she was to survive/ she would enjoy everyday of her life, oh/ on national television/ her diamond eyes are sparklin’/ bald headed like a full moon shinin’/ singin’ out to the whole wide world.” India.Arie stated that she was inspired by this performance because of the courage it took for Melissa Etheridge to perform on stage as she was being treated for cancer.

India.Arie was able to incorporate these other points of view in the song, by means of saying this is not just a black woman thing. What I mean by this is that Pink and Melissa Etheridge are not women of color, and therefore may not relate to some of the ideas India.Arie’s song holds; however, the  means of incorporating these other ideas — i.e. the lost of hair due to cancer treatment, dying one’s hair, cutting it, etc —  can apply to a larger group of people. Not to mention, as said in previous posts, Akon’s Konvict Remix of the song also gives a take on the black man’s perspective on self-expression through hair.

Thus concluding that India.Arie was able to demonstrate the idea of sociological imagination through “I Am Not My Hair.”

Originally released song “I Am Not My Hair” by India.Arie

Original song “I Am Not My Hair” by India.Arie featuring Pink

Remixed song “I Am Not My Hair Konvict Remix” by India.Arie featuring Akon