Alicia Keys Femininity: Artist Talks Femininity, Tomboy Past And Finding Her Voice In ‘A Revelation’ Post

August 13, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Alicia Keys hid her femininity during her teen years to discourage the opposite sex and continued to be a tomboy at the beginning of her career because she was a bit confused about her true identity. In a lengthy piece shared on her official site, Mrs. Keys encourages others not to go unnoticed, to not try to fit in, but to be. She believes people should grow every day because a human has only 28,000 days to be on earth and love.

alicia keys femininity

Alicia Keys claimed that her femininity was tucked away for several years for a tomboy look in an effort to keep men away. Recently, Keys, who has more or less been on a musical hiatus, unveiled a new song called 28,000 Days.

Along with the piano-driven track, Keys shared a brief video where she explained that the song was inspired by a study that claimed that an average human life is 28,000 days or 76 years. In the song, Keys asked the listeners:

There’s only 28 thousand days, Who would you love? Where would you go? What would you celebrate?

The mother of two went on to encourage people to live life to the fullest. In that same spirit, the wife of record producer Swizz Beatz shared a very long and personal post on her website entitled “A Revelation.” This is where she explained for the first time why she used to dress like a tomboy, (Aaliyah did the same thing), when her career just began.

The “Karma” artist said that she opted to hide her feminine side when she was a teen in order to avoid catcalls. The “You Don’t Know My Name” singer said:

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.

When Alicia Keys hit stardom in 2001 with her debut studio album, Songs in A Minor, she was not sexy like the ladies of Destiny’s Child or Britney Spears. Instead, she wore jeans, braids, boots and giant hats to hide her femininity. Keys went on to elaborate:

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.

Her tomboy look created a mini-scandal with several magazines claiming that Keys was gay and was pretending to date her longtime friend and collaborator, Kerry Brothers, Jr., to hide it.

In the post, Keys confessed that the sensationalist stories hurt her. However, at some point in her life, she screamed enough and decided to move forward. The talented diva wrote:

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!!

Since then, she has gotten married, gave birth to two beautiful boys, became an activist, who has worked with Bono to eradicate HIV, child hunger and a major supporter of Barack and Michelle Obama. She concluded by:

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

What will you be doing with your 28,000 plus days? Are you going to make your dreams come true, be happy, find love, make a difference, be yourself, be free, be positive?

A photo posted by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on

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    1. Betsy Holmes says:

      I can relate to Alicia. I was a Tomboy and self conscious about my looks To avoid attention, I dressed like a tomboy and would “dress down” as I got older. Even today, I do not wear anything tight and like my clothes loose, my dresses are mostly below the knee. Even now at 59 I still prefer not to wear makeup, but I like some attention. Still not comfortable when I do get attention.

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