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Alicia Keys Stopped Wearing Makeup And Her Reason Is Empowering As Hell

"I hope to God it's a revolution. 'Cause I don't want to cover up anymore."

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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."

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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!'"

"I became a bit nervous and slightly uncomfortable. My face was totally raw. I had on a sweatshirt!" she writes in the letter. "So I asked her, 'Now?! Like right now? I want to be real, but this might be too real!!'"

Once she started shooting, though, Keys says it was the "strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt." She used the photo as the cover art for her new single "In Common."

"I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself! The universe was listening to those things I'd promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that's how this whole #nomakeup thing began."

Since the album shoot, Keys also went makeup-less for Vanity Fair and Fault magazines.

Instagram: @therealswizzz

Her husband, Swizz Beatz, posted this photo from her Vanity Fair feature with the caption "You look 19 without make up👀👸🙌 My fav pic #vanityfair ⚡️the fact that this is a new pic 👀"

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