Alicia Keys performs in Times Square on October 9, 2016 in New York City.
Gary Gershoff—Getty Images for Alicia Keys
By Megan Lasher
November 4, 2016

Singer and The Voice coach Alicia Keys has made all of her recent public appearances makeup-free, embracing her natural beauty in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. In her new album, Here, Keys addresses this new look and reflects on the state of body positivity in today’s society with the song “Girl Can’t Be Herself.”

“When a girl can’t be herself no more, I just wanna cry, I just wanna cry for the world,” Key sings in the chorus of the song. The first verse directly discusses her decision to stop wearing makeup: “In the morning from the minute that I wake up, what if I don’t want to put on all that make up?
Who says I must conceal what I’m made of? Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem.”

Keys elaborated on this verse when she teased the tune in Lenny this May. “No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see,” she wrote. “This started manifesting on many levels, and it was not healthy.”

Earlier this year, Keys clarified that her makeup-free stance isn’t about getting rid of all makeup, it’s just about letting women be themselves. “I love makeup too, and it’s all good,” Keys said during a TODAY show segment. “It’s about how you feel, it’s about who you are, it’s about just being who you are and not letting anybody tell you who you should be.”

As she wrote in Lenny, for her, no makeup means more freedom: “‘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.”

Listen to the song below:


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