The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) was one of the most controversial and politically charged in recent years. Singer/songwriter and all round mega-babe Alicia Keys gave an emotional tribute to mark the 53rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s historical speech, “I Have a Dream”.
Keys looked radiant taking to the stage in a red and black Just Cavalli dress to deliver the poetic tribute, which dealt with themes of love, equality and war. However, it was another of her fashion decisions that created quite the stir online.
The 35-year-old mother of two attended the awards ceremony without a stitch of make up on her face. Shock horror. Whilst many took to Twitter to praise Keys, others labelled her as “annoying” and “fake”, clearly missing the point entirely.
In an essay published in May’s edition of Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Keys describes how after a stripped back photo-shoot she was left feeling strong, empowered, and free. Leading her to bite the bullet and go make up free: “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’ decision to go bare-faced was about one thing: personal choice. The choice for a woman to feel beautiful with or without make up and to offer up a different representation of beauty within an often limited spectrum. Summed up best by her response to the negativity, Key’s tweeted a picture of her blowing a kiss (make up free, of course) with the caption “Do you!”
Keys puts forward the idea that whether or not you choose to wear make up is irrelevant. As long as you’re being true to yourself, that’s the only thing that matters and that’s a message we can all get on board with.