In the letter, Keys explains how she battled with the scrutiny she faced when she was thrust into the forefront of the music industry. “I started, more than ever, to become a chameleon. Never fully being who I was, but constantly changing so all the “they’s” would accept me,” she writes.
Before her new album though, Keys started to list “all the things that I was sick of” which included the idea of beauty standards.
“One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size,” she writes. “Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked. All of it is so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible. I realized that during this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding. I needed these songs because I was really feeling those insecurities.”
Now that Keys is back to the forefront in promotion of new music on the way, Keys was feeling it all over again. But with the help of meditation and a photographer by the name of Paola who captured her without makeup, she was able to recognize her new purpose. The photo also became the “In Common” single art.
“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!” she writes. “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. Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song ‘In Common,’ it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me.”
Powerful words indeed. Check out the full letter lennyletter.com.