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” Even after Keys and Beatz wed in 2010, after she denied the rumors she interfered in his first marriage in Essence magazine, and after the love triangle made peace (even vacationing together), the notion persisted that her career had been tarnished by the bad publicity.In 2011, when the couple faced rumors Beatz cheated on Keys, and again in 2014 when he was caught contacting an Instagram model, bloggers cited karma.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,” she wrote.She gave a rousing rendition, but as she belted out “I am a superwoman / Yes I am,” the sentiment felt strangely unconvincing, given the years of public controversy that undermined her character.When Alicia Keys (née Alicia Augello Cook) first hit the national stage in 2001 with her debut album Songs in A Minor, she embodied retro chic.I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. It’s also because after enduring years of attacks for perceived impropriety, Keys’ new shift to what she called the “real and raw me” feels transparently tied to her private troubles.
In a 2001 profile, Rolling Stone heaped on honorifics, hailing her as “The Next Queen of Soul,” and “neosoul’s newest princess, a black woman impacted equally by hip-hop, soul, Prince and classical.” Keys was a dual-threat: By playing the piano and singing, she claimed the prodigious space Lauryn Hill had recently abandoned while also appealing to the mainstream crowds that eluded her alt-R&B cadre D’Angelo and Erykah Badu.
The intense tabloid attention quickly eroded Keys’ privacy — and the good-girl image she’d enjoyed.
The headlines, which were once so complimentary, turned sour: “Is Alicia Keys Wrecking a Marriage? "; and, perhaps most damning, “Why Does Swizz Beatz Keep Ruining Alicia Keys?
At the BET Awards in June, she sang a medley of new songs, dressed in boho garb and rounded bebop shades while she banged on a drum machine and crooned into the abyss of gape-mouthed amphitheater guests.
At the VMAs in late August, she appeared in a red-and-black gown, rocked a misty Afro puff, and recited a spoken-word poem in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech.