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Alicia Keys Recreates 2 Iconic Photos & Shares how She Learned to Love Herself

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Alicia Keys Recreates Muhammed Ali's 1961 Underwater Photo

Alicia Keys Recreates Muhammed Ali’s 1961 Underwater Photo

On her personal blog, Alicia Keys has shared a lengthy note about how she grew to love herself – especially after years of trying to hide herself and go unnoticed.

She reveals that her tomboy phase was done on purpose as she shied away from attention.

She also linked up with photographer Brendan Forbes to recreate two of her favorite photos.

Alicia-Keys-Sintra-Arunte-Promotional-poster-for-Jamaican-Tourism-BoardThe first is a remake of a classic 1972 picture of Trinidadian model Sintra Arunte-Bronte that was used in a promotional poster for Jamaican Tourists Board. The second is a remake of a classic Muhammad Ali photo taken in 1961.

Alicia-Keys-Muhammed-Ali-Underwater-Photo-BN

Read her self-love post below.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hidden myself. It might have started in school when I realized that I caught on to things a little quicker, and teachers started to show slight favor to me, or use me as an example. I remember feeling like my friends would make fun of me or look at me as if I was different from them and so… I started hiding. Not intentionally, I didn’t mean to, but I did. Little pieces at a time.

I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone. I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty. I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me. I didn’t want to be talked to in that way, looked at in that way, whistled after, followed. And so I started hiding. I chose the baggy jeans and timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide. Pieces at a time. Less trouble that way.

I remember feeling that same way when I first started to get recognized as an artist. I had the baggy/braided/tough NY tomboy thing mastered, that was who I was (or who I chose to be) and I felt good there. Then, because of the way I spoke or carried myself, people started calling me gay and hard and I wasn’t gay, but I was hard and although I felt comfortable there, it made me uncomfortable that people were judging me and so slowly I hid that side of myself. I put on dresses and didn’t braid my whole head up, so people could see more of the “real” me, even though at that point I’m sure I was more confused then ever of what the real me was.

I remember one interview I gave had strong social thoughts from a book I just read. The writer misunderstood me and wrote something that I didn’t say. I felt judged by those reading it. Out came the shell again and me under it. Hiding, piece by piece. Little by little. More and more.

I became comfortable hiding, my intelligence, my physical appearance, my truths, my thoughts, myself.

To this day, every time I get out of the shower to get dressed, I swear the first thought that comes into my head is, what can I wear that won’t cause too much attention when I go pick up Egy, or head to the store, or go shopping, or visit a friend etc.

And just the other day it hit me! OMG! Alicia!!! Why are you choosing to be that person?? That is so old and outdated!! STOP!!

You are allowed to be smart
You are allowed to be beautiful
You are allowed to be radical and have strong thoughts that others might not agree with
You are allowed to be tough
You are allowed to be sexy
You are allowed to be bold
You are allowed to be shapely
You are allowed to be kind
You are allowed to be yourself!!

And guess what!?? I can be all these things all at the same time. I don’t have to give up one to be the other. I don’t have to hide anymore, I don’t have to pretend and hold back, I don’t have to think that my intelligence, beauty and sensuality are intimidating to others. Who cares??!!! I don’t have to think my silliness, clumsiness, or hallmark card optimism, is something I can’t be proud of! Who cares????!!!!

I don’t have to try to go unnoticed
I don’t have to fit in
I don’t have to close up my thoughts and only speak my truth through songs!

I can speak it everyday
Live it everyday
Be it everyday
Dress it everyday
Show it everyday
Grow it everyday!!!

I only got 28,000 of those days. So what the F!CK am I waiting for?? And dammit that’s what I’m doing!!!!

Visit Alicia Keys’ blog here.

Photo Credit: Instagram – @aliciakeys

Adesola is the BellaNaija Head of Content and Digital Ventures. She is a BN stan.. Yes, things are that serious for her when it comes to BellaNaija.com. She's a lover of gist, novels, music, and food. She's constantly trying not to take life for granted. She spends most of her time either keeping up with the world on the Internet or sharing some acquired knowledge about digital media. She is passionate about using her voice to speak against injustice, especially towards women. To communicate with her directly, you can hit her up on: Instagram - @adesola.au Twitter - @Adesola_AU

11 Comments

  1. Lanre Thomas

    August 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Alicia Keys, my crush. The finest of them all…
    I don’t have to hide my true identity cuz of what others will say about me…

    • Kaeto

      August 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      I just want to go with the flow… Living is hard work, nobody wants to be lonely we can only hope to be with people that influence positive change in us And i think she gets that strength from her close friends.

  2. Olu

    August 11, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    If na naija take this kind Alicia picture now, we go yab am…call am copycat and folofolo

  3. Layo

    August 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    This is so pure and very relatable. A lot of us hide our true selves just because we are not comfortable with what the outside world thinks of us and it shouldn’t be so. Alicia keys has always been a beautiful singer and will continually be.

    Ladies and everyone in general should learn to embrace themselves and be free with who they’ve chosen to be.

    Have a blessed week love people of the BN community.

  4. patty

    August 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    one hell of a sexy woman!

  5. vee

    August 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I love Alicia,its not a secret

  6. chigirl

    August 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    It is especially worse when u have very competitive, domineering, jealous people around you You dont want to upset/intimidate them with ur successes so u gradually start deflecting your achievemnts and gifting just to make them comfortable so they remain ur friends. I get you Alicia, be free to be you, no fears, no worries……. Be the best of you that you can be!

  7. P

    August 11, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Abuse in all sorts. Be it emotional or physical can hurt someone. If only those who are insecure at a young age are taught on how to relate with those they deem superior.
    Lots of pretty and talented girls have gone through similar path.
    Alicia only God can solve the problem go to a believx church and get that assignment out of your family IJN amen. The fact you publicly deny doesn’t mean its not hoovering over your family.

  8. related

    August 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I can to relate wit the dressing up part..i use to underdress so the boys in the yard wont notice..walk so straight(no catwalkin) and very fast. but its time to realize i jst have to be me..cos the street will still keep talkin.. tomboy or supermodel.

  9. Ritzy

    August 12, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Don’t know most of her hit albums, but i like her, she is cool, from the very first day i saw her pictures and heard a single from her album “No One” i told my self that she is a quiet person, and that she is a reserved type and may be holding back so much. But its a good one she finally came out of her shell. She is a Pretty woman i like hearing her talk.

    People should learn from what this her master piece. nice write up.

  10. Peaches77

    August 12, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    A.Keys, my celeb personality of all time.
    Been loving you a long time since “Songs in A minor”.
    At first I couldn’t understand why such a pretty girl like you was comfortable with the tomboy mannerisms and all. Later on, it occurred to me that you probably felt more comfortable downplaying your beauty and the potential sexiness.
    Funny enough, these and the calmness about you endured many like me to you.
    You remain one of the very few musicians i follow on FB. Shout -out to you lady!

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