So the gift that is Alicia Keys has officially crossed over to team #nomakeup, and she says it's the most empowered she's ever felt!
In a very heartfelt essay on LennyLetter.com, the Grammy-winning artist writes that she hopes this is the start of a revolution, "'cause I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."
Keys reflects on moments before her newfound freedom when she felt the pressures of societal beauty standards.
"Does it start somewhere in second grade after picture day ... ?" she writes. "You grab the brush and gel and pull your beautiful big hair back into the tightest ponytail you possibly can to contain your unique hair in a bun — hiding a piece of who you are in order to fit into a picture of what others seem to see as perfection."
She decided to defy those standards and publicly embrace her natural beauty when she arrived for her new album shoot — bare-faced and fresh from the gym — and the photographer insisted that she shoot as she was.
"I'd just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn't like) said, 'I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!'"