Photographed entirely by her family— husband Swizz Beatz and sons Egypt, 9, and Genesis, 5— Alicia Keys graces the July cover of InStyle for quarantine photoshoot unlike any other. A first for InStyle, with the cover shot by her sons with the help of her husband. While her latest album ALICIA and its tour have been postponed, the iconic singer reflects on stepping back from her self-protective shell and how she’s now living more fully in her skin, imperfections and all.
On why she’s glad she’s past her twenties: “I swear, I wouldn’t go back to being 20 if somebody paid me—it was literally the worst time ever. I wanted to fit in so desperately. I was so blind, so dependent on everybody else’s opinions, so uncomfortable, so unclear.”
On the direct link between being kind to others and being kind to herself: “I’m coming to the place now where I’m able to live more fully in my skin, my imperfections, my feelings, which are so hard to access, because we want to protect our heart, right? That’s what we’re all doing in some way. And I think my ability to access that place has brought a deeper connection to other people.”
On remaining hopeful when it seems harder than ever: “You know, we do a really good job of judging each other and assuming who people are when we don’t even know them. To me, the most important thing we can do right now is take a second to see and appreciate each other as we are. I really believe that we are it—we are what we’re waiting for, what we’re looking for. The way we raise our kids, the way we choose to be with each other, the way we face the world—that is how things will start to shift.”
On focusing on the potential upsides of this crisis: Eventually, she thinks slash hopes, we’ll see the value of “stripping away all the unnecessary things and really recognizing how much we need each other.” In the meantime she adds “the amount of sweatpants I’ve been wearing has been amazing. And unfortunately, we’ve been doing a lot of baking. Cookies have been happening a whole lot.”
This interview and photo shoot took place in early May prior to the global protests surrounding George Floyd’s death.
The July issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download June 19th.
[Photo Credit: Swizz Beats, Egypt Dean and Genesis Dean/InStyle Magazine]