Alicia Keys and the battle for authenticity

‘Here’ the new album from Alicia Keys is a reminder that she is one of the most fearless artists in the game. In her art, Keys poses political and philosophical questions that manifest in choices that often find her leading by example.

Earlier this year in May, Keys penned a letter for Lenny in which she stated that she was starting a #nomakeup movement.

I found my way to meditation, and I started focusing on clarity and a deeper knowing of myself. I focused on cultivating strength and conviction and put a practice in place to learn more about the real me. I promised I would approach things differently this time regarding my image and allow my real self, as is, to come through.

Many were shocked when Keyes hit the white carpet at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards without any makeup. She also didn’t wear makeup at the BET Awards. Keys was heavily criticized on social media for attending events makeup free.

Her husband Swizz Beats defended her choice in an Instagram post, stating:

Somebody sitting home mad because somebody didn’t wear makeup on their face…not your face. You can do whatever you want to do. She didn’t tell y’all to wear no makeup. She’s just not vibing with the makeup all the way 100 percent.

Keys stressed that she is choosing to not to wear makeup and supporting anyone who wishes to follow her lead. However, for those who choose to continue wearing makeup, that’s fine too. She simply wants there to be a choice.

Alicia Keys no makeup movement
An un-retouched and makeup free Alicia Keys who released her new album ‘Here’ on November 4.

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.

In an industry where makeup, product placement and airbrushing are the rule of thumb, Keys #nomakeup movement is on the verge of blasphemy but with 15 Grammy Awards under her belt she is in a position to stick to her guns

And with her new album dominating the charts, she’s confident that she will emerge the victor in the battle for authenticity. In her own words:

If you lead with love, you’ve won.

‘Here’ is available on Spotify and iTunes.