Remember when “Songs in A Minor” dropped and everyone was talking about this new soulful pianist with beaded braids and old school flair? Alicia Keys was an instant hit. People admired her uncanny mastery of cadence and melody, her skills on the keys and, of course, her beauty. Six albums and 15 Grammy awards later, Keys is back at it again — but this time her message extends beyond the music.
The singer penned a powerful essay for actress Lena Dunham’s website The Lenny Letter, where she discusses her disgust with the pressures placed on women to be perfect and fit into society’s rigid standard of beauty. In the poignant composition Keys reflects on becoming a “chameleon” in the “harsh, judgmental world of entertainment.” This was all crystalized after sitting for a photoshoot with photographer Paola Kudacki for her upcoming sixth ablum and doing it completely makeup free.
Sporting a baseball hat, headscarf and a sweatshirt, Keys admitted that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea initially, but later realized how powerful the moment made her feel. “I swear is it the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt . . . because my initial intentions realized themselves.”
Though Keys is not the first to embrace the bare face trend, the release of her single, “In Common,” and the accompanying photo has encouraged women to embrace the #NoMakeup trend and Keys hopes it sparks a revolution and encourages women to be their authentic selves—struggles, dreams and all.
To read Keys’ personal essay, visit the Lenny Letter and watch her “In Common” video below.