Alicia Keys: Leading the charge for women to uncover their faces

Idoia Solano, Writer

The following excerpt is from the letter written by Alicia Keys published by the feminist website “Lenny” and represents a historic change. It is by means of this letter that the artist takes a crucial step towards getting engaged with a new movement, a new era which stands up for the powerful movement known as #nomakeup.

“I started, more than ever, to become a chameleon. 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. All of it is so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible. I realized that during this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding.”

Throughout the whole letter the singer confesses her old insecurities, the overwhelming fear she used to experience every time she went out without wearing any makeup, and  her concern about being judged, about not being at the height of the situation.

She used to live as the vast majority of women currently do, under the pressure of our “duty” to always be perfect. Our “duty” to be physically ideal in order to be respected.

This obsession for reaching perfection (physical, superficial) invades the majority of women in our society, who are in a way forced to spend thousands of dollars on makeup, fashionable clothes, hairdressers and even undergoing dangerous plastic surgeries in order to feel confident and socially accepted.

Alicia Keys, sick of this senseless and unbearable pressure, has decided to bring the situation to an end, to say enough.

It wasn’t until she had the photo shoot for her most recent unreleased album that she opened her eyes and changed her point of view. She had just left the gym wearing a kerchief under her baseball cap  and no makeup at all. When her photographer saw her that way, she insisted in photographing her in that precise moment, with the aim of reflecting reality as it is, wanting to show the real Alicia, without filters or tricks.

“Music is harsh and real, and these pictures must be too,” her photographer said to her. The artist accepted the challenge, and it was at that moment, when taking those pictures, that she felt the most powerful and beautiful she had ever felt before, away from masks and fakeness.

This experience gave her the courage she needed to make a brave decision: to not wear  makeup from that moment on.

Since then, the musical icon has appeared in public in several occasions, always without makeup, always beautiful, and putting herself in front of the world as she is. Showing that women´s confidence shouldn’t reside on masks or physical perfection, but in their power and strength, in their talent and hard work that leads them to achieve their goals.

Alicia Keys and all the other celebrities who  have embraced the #nomakeup revolution are making a change in the mentality of a sexist society that values women for  their physical appearance, that forces them into assuming unhealthy beauty canons, and that excludes them if they don’t approve them, or if they are simply brave enough not to want to fit in them.

Thanks to the huge influence of the singer, naturalness is starting to show up more each day among red carpets. Let’s hope that it soon starts invading the streets, the faces, bodies and souls of regular women.

Let’s work together so that one day we can understand that we can be confident, that we are valuable for who we are, no matter how we look. Let’s put an end to masks. It’s time to uncover.