Alicia Keys took a chance breaking away from the glitz and glamour of the perfect celebrity image we’ve come to expect. She dropped makeup and found out who she was underneath it all.
Alicia Keys on Makeup, Motherhood, and Her Musical EvolutionPHOTOS BY PAOLA KUDACKI
Alicia Keys is not playing a game. Her words, her music, her political activism—even her decision to do the no-makeup thing (this is the first time she has worn makeup in an editorial photo shoot since last spring) and to let her hair be free—are part of a cohesive whole. “I’m not a slave to makeup. I’m not a slave to not wearing makeup either. I get to choose at [any] given moment. That’s my right.” This is a woman who knows her own mind and says and does only what she wants. It may have taken her a while, in the category 5 shit storm that is the music business, but boy has she arrived, in a place of self-possession, creative autonomy, and power that few popular performers ever achieve.
I’m not a slave to makeup. I’m not a slave to not wearing makeup either.
She is a 15-time Grammy winner. To put that in perspective: Adele has ten; Taylor Swift, ten also; Mary J. Blige, nine; Rihanna, eight. Sometimes—rarely—in this world, prizes get awarded in a way that is commensurate with achievement, thank Allah, Jehovah, and Zeus. (Those are in alphabetical order, by the way; I may be a Christian, but if another guy’s deity wants to do me a solid, I’m very grateful. I do wish the entire panoply of gods could get together and stop my friends from using reply all. That’s what I pray for; I figure it’s an easier lift than universal amity or abolishing the electoral college.) On that topic, who could forget Keys’s impassioned performance of “Superwoman” and “In Common” at the Democratic National Convention last summer? The first song was dedicated to the “Mothers of the Movement,” a group that advocates for police reform and gun-violence prevention. The second one was a call to, in her words, “stand together and be united.” Keys’s deep disappointment with the election results is palpable.
“The We Are Here Movement [a wide-ranging social-justice organization founded by Keys] will stand in support of Hispanics, refugees, people of color, Muslims, and anyone who feels afraid in the upcoming Trump era.
I have a hope that President Trump, as a New Yorker, will have more liberal views than his campaign rhetoric suggests and that in the end our system of justice will prevail. But it does hurt that racism was not a deal breaker for millions in the election. However, as an artist, I expect to continue to use my voice for things that matter, as I have since the beginning of my career. That won’t change. As an activist, I will continue to fight for what’s right. That won’t change, either. It’s time for all of us to be engaged.
“As a mother, I am a lioness.”
…read the full interview at allure.com
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