In their first cover shoot together, celebrity couple Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys are featured in the summer issue of Cultured magazine. Donning an afro, red turtleneck and jeans, Alicia drapes her arm around her man wearing a black leather beret and black turtleneck.
You guessed it. The musicians are paying homage to The Black Panther Party, specifically a photo of the late Eldridge Cleaver and ex-wife Kathleen Cleaver. The Cleavers were photographed by the world-renowned photographer Gordon Parks, a man who was also an activist, filmmaker and musician.
Both Alicia and Swizz are friends and co-chairs of the Gordon Parks Foundation, so when they saw this photo of the Cleavers shot by Parks, Swizz said, “I feel like this is the one.”
Not only did they nail the cover, but they seem to be mastering the art of marriage as well. Swizz revealed that although they’ve been married for seven years, they do not fight.
“We’ve been married seven years and we don’t fight, we don’t raise our voices,” Swizz said. “It’s all about communication.”
This not arguing thing isn’t something new. Swizz said that he and Alicia maturely looked at what didn’t work in past relationships, and they both dedicated themselves to doing something different.
“Where I’m weak, she’s strong—and vice versa,” Swizz said. “We always talk about how we don’t own each other. She owns herself, I own myself, but we come together and have this amazing family. We established that early, both coming out of long relationships. We knew what had worked in our past relationships and what hadn’t. We came to the table a little knowledgeable for this round.”
Alicia admits that it’s hard to consistently communicate effectively with her husband when all you want to do is listen to respond.
“It’s a bit of a challenge sometimes to figure out how to be patient enough to listen and not be so quick to shut down or get defensive, but to pay attention,” she said.
This seems to be working for the pair, who not only seem to be enjoying marriage with each other, but they’re building a beautiful Black legacy together as well. The couple has a philanthropic organization and family collection of international contemporary art called The Dean Collection. It includes works from Gordon Parks, Nina Chanel Abney, Dr. Esther Mahlangu, Sanlé Sory, and Omar Victor Diop.
“The collection started not just because we’re art lovers, but also because there’s not enough people of color collecting artists of color,” Swizz said. “We don’t own enough of our culture. So we want to lead the pack in owning our own culture and owning our own narrative instead of waiting for someone who’s not part of the culture to tell our story for us.”
Renese spends her early mornings writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog. Follow Renese on Twitter: @reneseford