Soulful, raspy, sensual, humble, curvaceous, stylish, humanitarian, mogul, actress, pianist, director, singer, and mother, are just some of the words used to describe the one and only, Alicia Keys.
She stole our hearts at the peak of the 2000’s with Fallin’ and kept leading us on with songs like Diary, You Don’t Know My Name, No One, and Girl on Fire. She’s taken a break, started a family, begun directing plays, began fighting for human rights, and somehow in between it all she still managed to make music. It seems that she has a new sound and a new outlook on life based on one of her newest singles, “In Common”. It’s a fresh take on a new love. The song talks about the joys, surprise and worry that someone could possibly love her and accept her for who she is.
One of her newest mantras is the no makeup movement. In the world of today, with no shortage of hip, butt, and lip injections, breast augmentations, skin bleaching, weaves, and makeup it’s no surprise that our girls are beginning to look like full blown women at such a young age. Makeup and the other assets is something women indulge in for various reasons, whether it be simple self-expression or possibly concealing a flaw they may not like, but as a young child turning on the television or even going to the store, seeing everyone dolled up, with extreme curves…I can only imagine going through puberty during this epidemic. Now more than ever, seeing these things could lead the youth to develop low self-esteem, absence of confidence among other things with no one to look up to. Thanks to Alicia Keys and many other women in the industry, we can finally find some inspiration for our girls instead of weeding out all the celebrities.
Alicia Keys published a piece in Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter and made several statements that really made me stop and think.
“Does it start somewhere in second grade after picture day when you wear your frizzy hair out ’cause your mama says it’s beautiful but all your “friends” laugh at you?”
Deny as we may, we’ve all had this feeling. Our outfit wasn’t the best, our shoes weren’t the newest, we might’ve been “late bloomers”, we may have had to wear braces, might’ve had acne, our voice may have been a bit funny sounding, our hair wasn’t the longest or straightest, and our skin wasn’t the smoothest or lightest-as society has taught us, or it might’ve just been a bad day and we forgot to care about how we look for others sake.
“You grab the brush and gel and pull your beautiful big hair back into the tightest ponytail you possibly can to contain your unique hair in a bun — hiding a piece of who you are in order to fit into a picture of what others seem to see as perfection.”
I can remember in elementary school seeing movies like Clueless or Bring it On, and even seeing celebrities like Aaliyah and Beyoncé and looking up to them, in a sense kind of wanting to be them, because they’re so beautiful and must live an awesome life. I can remember in high school, if you didn’t have the new Jordan’s, a pair of True Religions, a designer purse, the most “laid” sew in…. well, you know the rest. At such a young age it’s instilled in us, somehow, that we need to look like this, have this, do this, talk like this, walk like this, etc.
“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.”
I wish I could’ve included the entire article because it was so raw and real. The stigma that Alicia Keys along with many everyday women experience is real! There are many who like putting on a “face” simply because they like it and there are also those who really struggle with their inner happiness and acceptance. They’re not curvy enough so they have to get injections, their butts are a little flatter than some so why not pump it up, lips aren’t as full as her’s: Botox! The list goes on and on. One problem I’ve identified is that we can find 1,000 flaws, but can’t seem to recognize 10 beauties. Alicia Keys wrote a song, “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself”. The lyrics are inspiring: In the morning from the minute that I wake up , What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup, Who says I must conceal what I’m made of , Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem. After receiving so much flack at the recent VMA’s, Alicia Keys tweeted, “Y’all, choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”. It seems as though people were confused. Alicia simply means that she no longer wants makeup to be her go-to when it comes to being beautiful. She doesn’t want to feel obligated to plaster it on before she leaves the house. She also doesn’t want to put anyone down if they do choose to indulge in it.
The key is self-worth, confidence, and acceptance. Be unashamed, proud, and unapologetic. If you like it wear it, if you want it get it, but if you’re not happy with yourself then you’ll never be able to accept you for you. TLC may have been the best to say it:
You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up
That M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel
So damn unpretty
I’ll make you feel unpretty too
Let’s follow in Alicia Keys’ footsteps and set an example for others, including our youth. Here’s a link to the full article. http://www.lennyletter.com/style/a410/alicia-keys-time-to-uncover/