Alicia Keys: ‘I Am The Creator Of My Own Destiny’
Alicia Keys smashed into the mainstream with her 2002 debut album, Songs in A Minor. She is shown here at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City – Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images North America.
The renowned singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is responding to the media frenzy ignited two years ago when she wrote an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter titled Time to Uncover, about shooting the promotional art for her 2016 song In Common without makeup, according to Sonia Saraiya, the TV critic from the well known entertainment industry news magazine Variety. “I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know HOW to be brutally honest anymore?” Alicia Keys wrote. “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
“Sometimes, I want some damn makeup, and I’m going to wear it! Guess what — if I want to wear red lipstick and put eyelashes on, I can do whatever I f—ing want. I am the creator of my own destiny,” Alicia Keys says in an interview with Variety.
The piece, and Keys’ genuine disclosure of her insecurities, went viral. And this past January when Alicia Keys appeared at the Grammys with no apparent makeup, she created another flurry of coverage. At the crowded, network-wide junket — which featured several children, including a 5-year-old girl in a frilly pink dress, silver high heels and mascara — Keys fielded a question about the “#nomakeup movement” from a local television journalist. The reporter, a woman, effusively thanked her and applauded her courage in speaking out. “Suddenly it was a movement, and I don’t even know what that means,” says Alicia Keys. “It doesn’t have anything to do with makeup or no makeup. It has to do with who are you, what makes you feel good, how do you want to express that and even just asking the questions — What do I feel? How do I feel good? However that is, you should do it.”
There’s no doubt that the intense scrutiny of life in the spotlight shaped Alicia Keys and her views. The performer smashed into the mainstream with her 2002 debut album, Songs in A Minor, but she’s been in the industry since age 4. She describes the messages transmitted by the media to young women in the entertainment business as “a prison.”
“Being a woman, being a girl, is the most awesome thing to be. I personally feel we are the more evolved species,” Alicia Keys says with a twinkle in her eye. “We are the greatest creators on the planet, like, the planet literally would not exist if we weren’t in it. … We’re the entire universe, in five feet five inches. One beautiful, elegant, awkward body.”