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Alicia Keys Says Braids and Natural Hair Deserve to be Respected

Alicia Keys made her debut onto the music scene in 2001 with her signature braided hairstyle that was mimicked by young girls across the country. Decades later, Keys has said that she still loves wearing braids and expressing her natural style.

In a new interview with Glamour UK, she said that natural hair “is such a gorgeous expression of our individuality and deserves to be respected.”

alicia keys
Alicia Keys. (Photo: @aliciakeys/Instagram)

Keys also stated that she is “proud of wearing braids and I love learning about the power of hair.”

“I’ve always felt royal when I wear braids. There’s something so beautiful about the Blackness of it, about my African ancestry that I just feel truly connected to.”

The artist’s respect extends toward the research of Black hair history and reveling in the extensive knowledge available. “I read a book once that was our story [and history] through hair and through braids, and I learnt how in each tribe, your position was actually told through the style in which you wore your hair; and we should accept the uniqueness of it. There’s definitely a lot of freaking messed-up hair culture that exists.”

According to, hair was an import aspect of the culture of ancient African civilizations. It “symbolized one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status.”

“As early as the 15th century,” in different tribes, hair was used to show a person’s social hierarchy. Royalty wore elaborate hairstyles to denote their stature.

Later this year, Keys has also done a fair amount of research in the release of her own lifestyle beauty brand, Keys Soulcare. The brand was motivated by her experiences with controlling her acne.

“I’ve always had a challenging time with my skin and having to figure out how to manage it, and be in the spotlight,” Keys said.

“Having to constantly be in this crazy cycle of putting on makeup to cover the bumps and scars and then because I had makeup on under the hot lights, there were more bumps and scars. I felt like I had to hide everything and I felt really self-conscious.”

Keys eventually learned that her outer appearance was much less than important than inner peace and understanding. “For me beauty is about the soul and the heart and the spirit and what comes through you, comes out of you. And so it’s more than just the surface,” Keys said. “It’s a deep conversation about who we are and who we want to be and where we’re going. It’s a passion of mine, a deep passion of mine that has been years in the making.”

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