At 13 years old, Alicia Keys already had a knack for expressing her feelings with words, which was displayed in a letter that she wrote to her father, Craig Cook, back then. The New York born-songstress shared what she wrote on Instagram last week and read it aloud for her followers.
Keys stated in the caption of the May 14 post that she had been waiting for the ideal time to share the deeply personal letter. Cook, a flight attendant during those years, had split from Keys’ mother when Keys was 2 years old.
“In the early part of my teens I wrote this letter to my father, Craig. I wanted nothing to do with him,” Keys began in an extended caption to her post. “My words came from a place of vulnerability and longing. At the time it hurt so much to experience what felt like empty promises. I swore I didn’t care, but I did and it affected me deeply. I finally had enough and wrote those words.”
In the clip, Keys begins reading her words from more than 25 years ago. “It saddens me that most of my heart is bitter towards you,” the letter began. “It’s only that little part that feels sad that’s not bitter. All I want is for you is to mind your own business. I don’t want the phone calls. I don’t want the letters. I don’t want the fake acts you pull to try and make me think you care. I don’t want anything.”
Keys then stopped reading the letter and explained that her father wouldn’t show up for promised visits when she was a child. It was something she was completely tired of by the time the letter was written in July 1994.
She explained that her father never answered the letter, but he spoke to her about it and said he had no interest in being pushed out of her life.
“Craig says he had no intention of allowing me to push him off the ledge of our relationship,” Keys explained in the clip. “He says he attempted to stay connected from the back row of my life…. Even after I mailed those divorce papers to Craig, some part of me must have hoped he’d fight to stay in my life. But at 14 [she actually was 13 in July 1994] I felt sure I never wanted to hear from him again.”
Some of Keys’ followers told her they had a similar experience with an absent parent and thanked her for opening up.
“Wow this made me cry Alicia!” someone wrote. “This is the BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN MY LIFE. It’s a relationship I’m not ready to heal but in my mind I want to.”
Keys’ husband of nearly a decade, Swizz Beatz, also commented and wrote, “I’m proud of you my love💓 you guys came a longgggggg way 🙏🏽.”
The “Underdog” singer said she decided to start building a relationship with her father in 2006 when his mother’s health began to decline. Part of the reason Keys made that decision was to rid herself of those bitter feelings she carried around for a long while.
“My father and I are fine now,” she told Britain’s You Magazine in 2012. “I would say in the process of growing up you realize you’ve been holding on to anger. I was angry then and am sure I had the right to be angry, but if you hold on to all this anger the only person you’re hurting is you.”
“The process started when my [paternal] grandmother became ill,” added Keys. “You realize what’s important when you see a person you love dearly and you’re not going to have them for long. It was important to her. And I saw [my father’s] love for her. I realized he wasn’t an evil person so I said, ‘Can we start from this point on? Can we be friends? I can start to understand you and you can start to understand me.'”