17 Things We Thank Alicia Keys For

There are some celebs who never stop giving back—just ask Alicia Keys, who has given an abundance of her time, money and prolific gifts to the world throughout her career and continues to open her heart. As Keys celebrates raising $4 million for families affected by HIV/AIDS at the 10th annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball charity event, we're taking a closer look at all the gifts she's given the world and giving thanks where it’s due.

Derrick Taylor Oct, 15, 2013

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It was dark, bluesy and rooted in love. Because it chronicled the ups and downs of romance, Songs in A Minor was sweet music to many. It went on to sell over six million copies and win Keys five Grammy awards in 2002.

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Who didn't try to rock cornrows and braids with beads like Keys at least once or twice? You'd be lying if you said no!

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Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to set a love connection in motion. Keys broke the ice and made the first move in "You Don't Know My Name," calling Michael up for their first date, and women felt empowered to follow in her footsteps.

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By 2005, Keys had already established herself on the charts, and next up she conquered the New York Times Best Seller List. Tears for Water is a collection of the singer's poems, song lyrics and journal entries.

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After completing two hit albums and watching her fan base grow and grow, Keys decided to record a live album (which was amazing) and give the people what they wanted. She single handedly resurrected MTV Unplugged in 2005 and brought along Common, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Adam Levine too.

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If the ladies of the world aren't superwomen, they're certainly girls on fire! Both "Superwoman" and "Girl on Fire" became international anthems for female empowerment all over the world. In both videos, Keys showed women as queens and unbreakable beings and her message was heard.

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From fedoras to kangols, Keys started a mini style revolution for young women back in the early 2000s when she rocked her signature headgear unapologetically. How many hats did you have back in the day?

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Although it only lasted a about three months, the play Stick Fly was a brave endeavor for Keys and her first time as a Broadway producer. Most importantly, it depicted the Black family in a positive light on Broadway, something audiences don't often get to see.

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Usher and Keys' "My Boo" rested atop the Billboard charts for six weeks in 2004—making it one of the biggest singles of the decade—but, it pales in comparison to Keys and Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind" (2009) which went three-times platinum and became inescapable.

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In June 2008, Keys shocked the world by reuniting not one, or two, but three of the biggest girl groups of all time in the name of music. SWV, En Vogue and TLC joined Keys on stage to sing their respective hits and Keys' "Teenage Love Affair." It was a moment for the music history books, for sure! #GirlPower

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Since its inception in 2004, Keep a Child Alive has raised over $18.5 million for kids and families affected by HIV/AIDS in both Africa and India. Each year, the charity's annual Black Ball not only raises the necessary funds, but it honors one distinguished guest for their humanitarian efforts.

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Many folks have impressively sung the "Star Spangled Banner," but Keys' soulful rendition was the longest in Super Bowl history clocking in at a whopping 156.4 seconds!

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Keys has many talents and gifts, and one of them is songwriting. She and her husband Swizz Beatz wrote and produced Whitney Houston's 2009 comeback song, "Million Dollar Bill."

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Do you keep falling in and out of love? Don't worry. Keys wrote an anthem for that, and some. The talented songstress has five hit studio albums under her belt, and counting.

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Maxwell's been a staple on the R&B scene since the '90s, but when he teamed up with Keys in 2013 on their steamy duet "Fire We Make," it reminded us just how much we love and miss and his music.

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Keys makes mommyhood look sexier, leaner and more beautiful than ever before. Just check out those abs!

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If you ask her, Keys will probably tell you her greatest work is her son, Egypt. At age three, this little one has stole our hearts on Instagram and whenever he's out with mommy and daddy, he's the center of their world.