Alicia Keys, 34, definitely goes down in the books as an artist who has made an extremely drastic style transformation. She made her debut to the world in 2001 as an R&B singer, but she dressed more like a rapper and she was known for her signature cornrows. Fastforward to a over a decade later, and the Alicia Keys we now see has matured and evolved into a full grown woman. She no longer rocks beads and braids like she used to, and she wears more feminine shapes and silhouettes.
This change was intentional. As the “28,000 Days” singer gets older, she grows more confident, and she even took a few photos, including recreations of an iconic image of Muhammad Ali, and the also iconic 1972 Jamaica tourist board image of a woman in the water, to mirror that confidence.
Check her out:
In a recent blog post, the mother of two recalls how she used to dress like a tomboy so that she wouldn’t get noticed too much, especially by men who would catcall her on the streets of New York.
Here’s a snippet:
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.
The blog post was long, but Keys went on to discuss how she got tired of dimming her light, and decided to embrace all facets of her personality from her femininity, to those moments when she feels like being goofy, and to those moments when she feels like speaking her mind, especially for a cause.
Keys ended the post by saying she only had 28,000 days to live it up, and therein lies the point of her post. Yes, she was discussing her personal evolution, but she was also trying to encourage other people to not waste their precious time on Earth. Keys’ newest song, “28,000 Days,” speaks to the fact that the average person has 28,000 days on Earth–meaning, the average lifespan is 76-year-sold, so we have said amount of days to live a full life.
So, be brave and carpe that dang diem!