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17Jan

India Arie – The Heart Of The Matter (Testimony: Vol 1, Life & Relationship)

I promised myself this weekend was all about me, myself and I. Sometimes, you have got to get it together and clear your heard. So, there I was with a list of things I wanted to do. Watch the movie, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, listen to some Bebe Winans, John Stoddart, his album, Wings To Walk This Road, is wicked, Lisa McClendon, her songs are beautiful, Heather Hedley, she is amazing and I could go on and on. I even had all my African Jazz artists on standby because I was ready to get down with some Afrobeat, you know, get some Beng Beng Beng moves but not the way Femi Kuti wants to Beng Beng Beng with his woman. My Beng Beng Beng was simply to dance. I started off by listening to Ayo and her album is flytastic!

But my eyes caught a copy of Testimony: Vol 1, Love & Relationship by India Arie. A friend had introduced Miss Arie to me a while back. It is a funny story the way I discovered Miss Arie though I have always heard others talk about her and heard some of her songs before. When my friend was telling me about her, she said, I know a lot of people frown on Christians listening to secular stuff but I do and its because I like what some of them have to say. I remember thinking to myself, my excuse will be, I am a journalist, and I cover the arts and culture, so I have to keep an open mind.  Anyhow, she went ahead and gave me all of Miss Arie’s cds and a few others.

When I started listening, I was like okay, what’s all the fuss about this album? What has she got to say for herself? So, I popped Testimony: Vol 1, Love & Relationship, into the cd player. I thought the first song was okay and then jumped to India’s Song and The Wings Of Forgiveness, a self explanatory title for a song,  it talks about forgiveness and forgiving others, which is very essential in life if you are going to be cancer free from the ills of bitterness and the green-eyed monster better known as jealousy. I don’t know what I pressed on the remote control but the cd player jumped of its own accord to the track, At The Heart Of The Matter.

My, my, my, what a song? I have had it on playback since then. Neo-Soul is what they call her genre of music right? Who cares? As far as I am concerned, she nailed this song which though is not an original of hers, it was originally written by Don Henley from my search on Google, she made it her own. The words are powerful and so true to life. For me, this song makes the album what it is. I am Not My Hair is a nice track and one a lot of people know because of the political connotations it has. But I am not going to get into all of that. I believe Chris Rock has done enough making us aware of what we do to our hair as black women.

The song reminds me of life and the different scenarios we find ourselves. The one that comes to mind is our love relationships, when you try so hard to make it work with someone and it just does not turn out that way. And then a few months after you finally agree to go your separate ways, you hear they are getting married and you are like what??? Then you start beating yourself up and you say to yourself, I did this and that to make it work. I did what I was supposed to but its just life. You can’t explain it, however, you will survive and it starts off with you forgiving yourself and then move on. Or take the scenario where you are really keen on a guy or as a man you are keen on a lady and they tell you, I know there is something here but I am just not ready…and of course, the next you hear or see, the same joker who said they were not ready is walking hand in hand with another bird or dude…such is life. Deal with it and move on.

Forgiveness - A Major Key At the Heart Of Life's Journey

There are other areas of life this song applies to, our relationships with friends and when it is time to come to terms with yourself, life and the different transitions you go through as a human being. We want to stay with the old so bad and forget that the unknown may be scary but if you take a bold step and embrace it, it might just surprise you.

Allow me get personal, I happen to be someone who is really hard on herself and whenever I mess up, one of the hardest things is forgiving myself especially when my intuition told me from the beginning not to do what I did and I could feel it in my soul that I was about to take a wrong turn but I did it anyway. I remember a few years back, I had this encounter with a guy I really liked and wanted him so bad. Back then, I would have given anything to be with him because he seemed like the ultimate man. He had the looks, I don’t know about the money but he had a great personality and was sweet.  However, things didn’t go down that road and I had pushed when I was supposed to be a lady, smile and sit pretty.  Yes, I knew what I wanted but I should have let what I wanted come and get me. But, we live and we learn. Now, I look back and say to myself, it would never have worked out because I didn’t even know who I was then. I had just started discovering Belinda and I am still discovering myself.

I remember that experience took so much out of emotionally and mentally. I was physically sick because I was so angry at myself and I really beat-up on myself over it. My stomach churned with anger, pain and embarrassment but the minute I forgave myself, it was over. It was no longer about the other party but about me and reconciling myself to my soul and spirit and saying to myself, its okay. I made a mistake but its time to move on.

So, when I was listening to Miss Arie, she touched the buttons of my soul with the truth the words of this song carry, simple but powerful. If there is a line that says it all, it would have to be, ‘Better put it all behind you; cause life goes on. You keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside.’

While I have no plans to get sentimental, this is where I say, I pray and hope that no matter where you have found yourself or if something is making your soul bleed and though you are smiling on the outside, you are dying on the inside, ‘Get To The Heart Of The Matter,’ forgive and move on.

I have said enough but if you want to get more, see the lyrics below.


The Heart Of The Matter By India Arie

I got the call today, I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And all the struggles we went through
How I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?


I’ve been learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning them again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore


These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
And the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They’re the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work they put between us,
You know it doesn’t keep us warm


I’ve been trying to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
The more I know, the less I understand
And all the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my heart is so shattered
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore


All the people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; cause life goes on
You keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside


I wanna be happily everafter
And my heart is so shattered
But I know it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore


I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if you don’t love me anymore
Even if you don’t love me anymore

Lyrics from: A-Z Lyrics Universe

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6 Responses to “India Arie – The Heart Of The Matter (Testimony: Vol 1, Life & Relationship)”

  1. Ogochukwu says:

    Yep…India Arie…I loooovvvveeee her. The song “I am not my hair” touched me so mcuh cos it reached out to some personal issues i was going through at the time i heard it. I usd to sing it with tears…but now i’ve got so much understanding….i sing it with confidence.

    Her songs are beautiful…no be lie!

  2. Yomi Wills says:

    I totally agree with u Belinda about learning to forgive ME first,and sometimes this process might take weeks,months even years but the key lesson i’ve learnt is that forgiveness is a process and a truly liberating process as well.Sometimes very difficult but once u start the process of forgiving then can u let go and find true joy and happiness.

  3. Belinda Otas says:

    That’s very insightful Yomi. Thanks!

  4. Belinda Otas says:

    Ogochukwu, you are a joker, ‘her songs are beautiful…no be lie.’ I cracked up laughing. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Leine says:

    I’m very VERY fond of India Arie, she’s different, but not so much that I can’t relate to her. Just extra-ordinary when it comes to the whole inspirational neo-soul thing.
    Heart of the matter actually makes me cry sometimes, I can get emotional sometimes, but this song is liberating, which is why I cry, it’s not from bitterness or bad memories.
    I like Get It Together a LOT, this song did more for me than a lot of Gospel songs out there. It taught me, it sustained me, it made me believe, it rebuked me… One song.
    Little Things is amazing, it speaks my mind, Strength Courage and Wisdom was my anthem for a long while.
    I want to go on, because I tend to do so when I’m passionate, but I’m sure you get my drift, I’m glad you didn’t reject the CD simply because she’s secular, that’s another trait of your personality I like, and though I have much more to discover, the journey is pleasant enough 🙂

    Keep writting, it’s the little things that inspire, intrigue, teach and fascinate me, and this website is all that and much more.

    Love xxx

  6. Belinda Otas says:

    Love you too Leine. Thanks for being honest.xxx

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