“I Am Not My Hair” is best categorized as neo-soul contemporary R&B. These two genres were popularized by black musicians, meant for a predominately black audience. Contemporary R&B, or just R&B, is a mixture of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, funk, hip hop and electronic music.

The song is mostly neo-soul, which is a mixture of R&B, jazz, fusion, and afrobeat. AllMusic.com says that neo-soul is, “roughly analogous to contemporary R&B,” where the sound is heavily influenced by the era of classic soul. Nonetheless, neo-soul as a genre tends to be lyrically driven. According to LiveAbout.com, “majority of neo-soul artists have yet to crossover to mainstream American music listeners, partially because the music’s sound generally focuses on artist expression, rather than popular appeal.” In other words, neo-soul artists focus on their music and its message with conscious-driven lyrics, rather than the pressures to reach all audiences, as a mainstream artist would. India.Arie was able to accomplish both by staying true to her message about self-expression and acceptance of black women and their hair; while also being able to reach out to other audiences on the topic of self-definition for all through the different versions of the song.

“I Am Not My Hair” as a contemporary R&B genre features the use of instruments such as the bass guitar and the piano, and is delivered melodically to a steady beat; it is said that R&B is set to be more focused on vocals than lyrics, but as Offical.fm says, R&B artists tend to put an, “emphasis on both voice and sound.” When I hear the lyrics of the song, I feel a sense of mixture of understanding and empowerment. The lyrics alone makes the song, manifesting the power it has. In addition to this, the piano gives the song a softer feel and guitar gives the song a slight upbeat feel that you can bop to; the delivery of the lyrics is as soft as the music. Despite the music and the delivery being so soothing and sensational compared to the lyrics, they are able to back up the lyrics by creating a sense of inviting energy through the mildly upbeat plucks of the guitar.