All Articles Tagged "alicia keys"
#23 Ways: Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Rihanna & More On Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black In America
I don’t have to tell you what’s going on in our world these days. You’ve seen the news. They’re killing us, often times for nothing at all.
Now is the time for everyone offended by these senseless killings to speak out. And thankfully, there are some celebrities using their platforms for good by speaking out.
In a recent video released by Mic.com, several celebrities spoke out about instances of police brutality, recounting the common actions these Black people were involved in when they were killed by police. Actions like running to the bathroom in your house, playing with a toy gun, asking for help, wearing a hoodie or failing to signal.
There’s also a call to action at the end of video, that directs viewers to WeAreHereMovement.com, where you can tell President Obama and Congress about your desire to address racial injustice in this country, particularly when it comes law enforcement and the government.
Celebrities grace the covers of magazines and partake in photo shoots on a regular basis. No biggie, right? Well, that privilege takes on a completely different meaning for pregnant stars. For some of them who haven’t already shared the good news, posing while pregnant serves as their official baby announcement to the world. For others, a baby bump magazine cover or photo shoot is a chance to document and flaunt one of the most exciting times in their lives. Many pregnant models, actresses and singers have happily posed for magazines over the years, and some of them have even done it with zero clothing on. The result? Artful, classy, timeless images that present pregnant women in a beautiful, vibrant light. The joy and magic of pregnancy is a wondrous thing. Click on for pictures of some of your favorite celebs who bared it all – and in some instances, went fully clothed – while pregnant.
I’ve noticed that when it comes to movements, there’s an assumption that to be a proponent of one aspect of it means you’re against the other. This has been the case when it comes to important things like the way mainstream society (i.e., White folks) view the Black Lives Matter movement and even something as empowering as Black Girls Rock! to things as simple as this whole #NoMakeup movement going on.
It’s gained quite a bit of traction thanks to Alicia Keys, who stated that after being paranoid about leaving the house without makeup and struggling for years with bad skin, she used makeup as a mask. Eventually, after doing a photo shoot makeup-free, she felt empowered, and made it clear that as she promotes her newest album, she’s “not covering up anymore.” She even attended the BET awards last month without makeup.
KeKe Palmer, who has been criticized when makeup-free, is a supporter. And just this past week, Sanaa Lathan said that for the summer, she’s ditching her usual weaves and makeup for a fresh, “au naturel” look.
It was in these declarations from people with influence that I noticed a number of individuals who weren’t here for the idea of encouraging women to forgo makeup. And I also saw people who were proponents for going without makeup, but made their stance clear by saying that they wished more women would stop with the makeup and weaves, claiming that those who embrace such trappings should stop “obsessing” and learn to love their natural selves. And therein lies the problem.
As I’ve already said, too many people think one has to be the antithesis of the other. But the truth is, you can respect and even love a woman’s choice to enjoy playing up her features in makeup while choosing, for yourself, to go without it. And you can be a Beauty Insider card-holding member of Sephora and still appreciate a woman’s realization that she was wearing makeup for all the wrong reasons and wants to leave it alone.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the intention of either star to make it appear as though one way of doing things is better than the other, which it seemed some people believed was an underlying message. Instead, they used their platforms to share with fans what is best for them. And as people with influence who may have followers who feel attached to certain accouterments for the wrong reasons (because they don’t think they look right without them), they wanted it to be clear that it’s okay to go without. Of course, we’re all adults here, so the pep talk from a celebrity likely gets a side-eye from most. But let’s not act as though there aren’t young people, and grown people, who couldn’t use some encouragement. Namely, encouragement from people who are often criticized heavily if they don’t step out of the house with a full contour job going on just to run errands. They understand the struggle most.
I’ve known many women who forgo wearing makeup. Those who do, they don’t do it as a stance against anything in particular, aside from the discomfort of wearing heavy cosmetics. And I know women who love makeup. Sistahs who take classes to get better at applying it and who shop at Sephora and MAC like they shop at the grocery store. I’ve also been around the folks who are anti-makeup (including some men who say, “You don’t need all of that”), and those who wouldn’t take a picture of me until I put a lip color on (because “a girl always needs a bright pop of color on her lip” and “You never know who you will run into”).
What I’ve learned from all of them is that you have to do what’s comfortable for you. Keyword: comfortable. If wearing a lot of makeup is your thing, do it. If going barefaced is your thing, go for it. But whatever you do, do it for healthy reasons. Don’t cover yourself because you’re uncomfortable with your skin without makeup and you’re worried about how you will be received. Don’t pass up on makeup because other people you’ve never met told you that you look better without it or because a man who couldn’t tell the difference said so. Do whatever works for you and respect other people’s choice to do the same for themselves. Whatever your choice, save your debates for more pressing matters instead of arguing with fellow women and men (who rarely have to deal with the pressure to look a certain way) when none of that does anything to tear down the beauty standards that are really holding us back from feeling comfortable enough to do what the hell we want anyway.
What are you doing without this summer? Well, if you catch me out and about in NYC on the weekends, you’ll see that I’ve decided to forgo makeup and full shirts (#teamcroptop). As for stars like Sanaa Lathan, she’s ditching not just makeup, but weaves, and we’re loving it.
The actress, who is currently working on the upcoming Fox show Shots Fired, took to her Instagram page to let her followers know that this summer is all about going au naturel for her.
All that hair! Lathan continued to show it off on social media, stepping out with a friend with her curls (and cheekbones) popping:
A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on
In an interview with Hype Hair last year, Lathan said that while she loves “weaves and wigs and all of that,” she had been embracing her own hair more and more.
“I’ve been wearing my hair natural a lot lately. For me, it’s all about changing it up. In terms of my real life, I’ll put it in cornrows and put some conditioner in it and then take it out and it’s really big and wild. I’ve been loving that lately.”
In case you missed it the first time, Lathan revealed a very full head of hair in 2013 after taking out a weave:
We’re glad to see the actress, as well as influential stars like Alicia Keys, stunning either way, embracing their strands and encouraging other women to show off their natural beauty as well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing weaves and all the MAC your makeup bag can handle, but there is an issue when it seems that you rarely feel comfortable enough to step out without such accouterments.
There was a moment a few months ago when I was getting ready for an event, standing in the mirror with a tube of lipstick, wondering why I was about to paint my face. I’d done it a zillion times without question, but this time, I just felt silly. What I really wanted was to go completely as I am. Now, I don’t mean butt-naked, but naked-face. Is this what it means to get older? Still, I went ahead and did it, and when I got to the event and posed the question to a few friends they looked at me like I was smoking crack. Wanna clear a room? Start talking about age.
Soooooo when Alicia Keys started popping up all over the place sans makeup I suddenly felt vindicated. I mean, Alicia is a mom, like myself, and she’s getting older, we all are, and well, now we can start talking about how we really feel about this makeup thing.
I start with one of my favorite California girls, Angie B. T.
A model back in the day, Angie never left home without a fully made up face. In fact, sometimes she wore makeup to bed. How does she feel about it today?
“I still love makeup, and lashes, and adorning myself with jewelry,” she says, “but what has changed is I don’t feel the need to wear it all the time. I appreciate my beauty without it.”
She says the change wasn’t so much an age thing, but more about the different changes in her life. She broke up with her finance, her mom and sister both passed away in the same year, and not long after she fell, fracturing both of her ankles.
“It was hard at first, not to feel sorry for myself,” she says looking back, “but being in that space where I was literally crawling to the bathroom with no makeup on for such a long period of time stripped away all the pretense I had in my life. I had to find my inner strength and what re-emerged was this beautiful woman that I am today.”
Are you a makeup lover who doesn’t leave the house without at least some foundation, mascara, and lipstick? Do you spend your spare time clearing out your bank account at MAC or, like a friend of mine, taking classes at Sephora?
Or maybe you are someone who enjoys a good beat face but doesn’t relish in the time and work it takes to make it happen. You love some lashes and getting your makeup done, but the process is one you take on only a few times a week.
Or are you someone who doesn’t like makeup? Someone who only wears it sometimes because people tell you that you should for certain occasions. Someone tired of being told that to look beautiful, or to just show your face in public, you need to be gussied up because “You never know who you will meet!” If you could, you would opt for a bare face at all times and let your skin breathe.
Alicia Keys falls in the latter category. The Grammy winner has, as of late, decided to take a break from wearing makeup. It’s not 100 percent clear whether this will be a temporary thing, something she only does when she’s not on the red carpet, or if she’s fully done with all things concealer, mascara and beauty-blender related. But in a very revealing piece for the Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner site Lenny, entitled “Alicia Keys: Time To Uncover,” Keys penned a letter about why she is team #nomakeup as she works on her newest album. It all started when she realized she was writing a lot of songs about masks, the ones we wear metaphorically.
A photo posted by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on May 31, 2016 at 10:18am PDT
In one song I wrote, called “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself,” it says,
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
No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.
This started manifesting on many levels, and it was not healthy.
Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.
After getting a handle on these thoughts through a newfound appreciation for meditation, Keys had a revelation. She wasn’t going to cover up anymore, both metaphorically and literally. It wasn’t easy at first. Especially when a photographer decided to shoot her as she was, bare and beautiful, for the packaging for her album.
I’d just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn’t like) said, “I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!”
I was shocked. Instantly, I became a bit nervous and slightly uncomfortable. My face was totally raw. I had on a sweatshirt! As far as I was concerned, this was my quick run-to-the-shoot-so-I-can-get-ready look, not the actual photo-shoot look. So I asked her, “Now?! Like right now? I want to be real, but this might be too real!!”
And that was it. She started to shoot me.
It was just a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately relating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic circulating. And I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt.
Keys felt driven to embrace the idea of going without–without her insecurities, without the “walls I built over all those years,” and without the heavy makeup so that she could start fully listening to and embracing herself, inside and out. She would love if you could do the same.
“I hope to God it’s a revolution,” Keys wrote. “‘Cause 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.”
I love it. And as someone who can relate to the struggle of having adult acne, which Keys has spoken about, and often feeling as though you have to wear makeup so people won’t comment on your skin, I completely respect and appreciate her choice to give all the powders and creams and colors a break. She looks lovely.
Check out Keys’s full Lenny letter and be sure to share your thoughts on her #nomakeup movement.
Last night was another good night for Hip Hop as Kendrick Lamar released a new, surprise album called untitled unmastered. Any Kendrick fan knows that it is a sonic and lyrical treat. The boy doesn’t play.
And now that the secret is out, information about its completion is seeping out. Chief among the truth spillers is super producer Swizz Beatz. Beatz himself wasn’t involved in the project, his 5-year-old son Egypt Dean was.
Following in both his mother and father’s footsteps, the little one produced the second to last track on Lamar’s album, which is, as the album name suggests, untitled. It’s just track number 7.
Understandably proud of his son, Swizz got on Instagram to talk about his son’s contribution to the project.
It should have been a moment for us all to marvel at this Black Excellence, wrapped in such a tiny package. Instead, when Beatz’s post was shared by The Shade Room, the comments were alarmingly negative.
People said things like, Yeah, and when I was 2 I competed in the World Cup. or At 5 years old, you can’t even read. How he produce a whole song? or At five years old, you don’t even have all of your motor skills.
Basically, various ways to state that Swizz Beatz was lying on his son’s actual talent and capabilities. Instead of taking Egypt’s talent as an inspiration, these people likely looked at themselves and became discouraged. Doing the hard work to accomplish your own dreams is much harder than tearing someone else down on social media, even if that someone else is a child.
I don’t know if he read the comments on The Shade Room or he just wanted to stunt a little bit more, but later he included two more videos showing little Egypt putting the song together. And he made sure to note that he had no help.
Check him out.
A video posted by therealswizzz (@therealswizzz) on
None of us were there when the song was produced but I’m inclined to believe Swizz. Children are brilliant and sadly it’s the people closest to them who extinguish that light. I can’t remember who stated the very real fact that “Parents kill more dreams than anybody.” The same parents who will watch their children take their first steps before they turn a year old, become fluent in a language before two and sing all the words to their favorite song on the radio, will turn right around and doubt that child’s gifts and abilities believing that they’re too young, too unskilled and inexperienced to exceed the limits of their parents’ expectations. Interestingly enough, when these same people see young child prodigies on Ellen playing classical piano, we applaud that. Not really believing that their child is capable of the same.
And frankly, the wrong way to raise a child you want to make a difference in the world. The thing about doubting or stifling a child is that the words don’t expire once they are actually old enough to achieve some of the very things you, their parent, believed they couldn’t. Your negative words, predictions and attitudes stay in their heads and create doubts within themselves. We can all understand that basic law of physics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.
That’s the very same thing many of us are subconsciously doing with our children, transferring our negative energies. The world doesn’t even have to work to get to our children. Their lights have been dimmed or dismissed before they ever left the house. It’s time we start asking ourselves, what could they achieve if we saw things differently?
If their actions are not going to endanger or harm them, stop telling your children what they can’t do.
Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart Lifetime biopic drew 3.6 million viewers, becoming the network’s most-watched film in a year. Did you enjoy it? Because we sure did. Narrated and executive produced by Toni Braxton (who sang her own music in the movie), Unbreak My Heart followed the success of Lifetime’s much talked about Aaliyah and Whitney Houston biopics. Whose life story would you love to see on screen next? From Missy Elliott’s comeback to Brandy’s interesting career and love live and Jennifer Hudson’s incredible story, here are some candidates we think Lifetime should consider.
Vanessa Williams made headlines as the first Black winner of Miss America, a title that she would later relinquish after a Penthouse scandal threatened her burgeoning career. But Williams bounced back and conquered virtually every sector of entertainment: the musical charts, Broadway, film, and television. If that doesn’t scream biopic, I don’t know what does.
More than just a chart-topping soul chanteuse, Alicia Keys dedicates lots of time time, emotion and energy to activism and philanthropy.
After running the TCS New York City Marathon in support of the Keep A Child Alive cause, the “Superwoman” singer announced on Friday (Nov. 20) that she would be taking on another challenge: mass incarceration. Keys, who has created her own social justice movement, titled “We Are Here” has decided to partner with prison reform group #cut50 — a group wants to cut the prison population in half over 10 years — to bring audiences a new viral video campaign, which calls on both Congress and the White House to pass “meaningful” criminal justice reforms before the end of the year.
The newly released campaign also is a call to action for alternatives to incarceration, including ” drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, as well as programs to help prisoners upon release,” according to PEOPLE.
“Too many families – and our communities – are being destroyed by mass incarceration,” Keys said in statement to PEOPLE. “We need policy reforms that can keep people out of prison who don’t need to be there, and ensure that our justice system helps to heal communities, families and individuals.”
Van Jones, a former Obama administration advisor and founder of #cut50 said, “They could have no better spokeswoman than Alicia Keys, who knows how to make change.” “[W]hen Alicia gets involved in an issue, she moves the needle in a major way.”
Watch the newly released campaign video above and if the spirit moves you, sign their petition.
Alicia Keys & Jay Z To Serve As Keynote Speakers For Harvard’s African American Student Union Conference
It has been six years since concrete jungle natives Alicia Keys and Jay Z teamed up to rep their hometown with “Empire State of Mind,” but the duo have big plans up their sleeve for the new year.
Both Keys and Z have been named as keynote speakers for Harvard Universities H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference, which is being launched by the business school’s African American Student Union. The two will share wise words of wisdom they’ve gained throughout their life and career with students at the event, alongside American Express CEO Kennth Chenault, and managing director of Bain Capital, Deval Patrick.
The annual conference, which is titled “Transcend: Redefining Expectations,” will take place from Feb. 5 – 7, 2016 and focus on owning and operating Black businesses, impactful networking events, TED talks and panel discussions.
“We aim to celebrate African-American achievements, inspire many new milestones, and provide a forum for attendees to take on issues facing our community such as: What is the African-American business community’s response to social injustice? Where do African-Americans fit in to the ever expanding definition of diversity?” the AASU website reads.
Congratulations to both Alicia Keys and Jay Z for making an impact on the culture and continuing to spread their wisdom on various platforms.