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‘In Londonnnn, Concrete Jungles Where Dreams Are Made of’: Alicia Keys Hits Back at Backlash She Received Performing at Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee

Singer, songwriter and actress  Alicia Keys recently took to her Instagram page where she addressed the backlash that ensued online after viewers found it odd that she chose to perform “Empire State of Mind” at the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month in London.  

“Epic night at the jubilee!! Celebrating the Queen and all the Queens!!!!! “She’s got her feet on the ground and she’s burning it down!” the Grammy winner, 41, wrote on Monday, June 6, quoting the lyrics from the chart-topping record. “FYI: Every song was requested personally by the Queen. Even EMPIRE!!”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 04: Alicia Keys performs during the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, on June 4, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Daniel Leal – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Following the weekend celebration, critics chatted on social media over Keys’ decision to showcase the 2009 Grammy Award-winning song “Empire State of Mind.” The R&B singer was featured alongside Jay-Z on the widely accepted New York anthem. 

One Twitter user wrote, “I mean I love Alicia Keys and this song BUT WHAT is an AMERICAN doing at the PLATINUM JUBILEE CONCERT singing about NEW YORK????? Put Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Robbie or even GARY on!!!!!”

“I’m sorry but watching Alicia Keys remix empire state of mind at the queen’s jubilee to say “in londonnnn, concrete jungles where dreams are made of” ???? concrete WHAT?” commented another critic. 

Alongside her post, the 41-year-old star shared a behind-the-scenes video from the concert. In it, the “Girl on Fire” singer appears with her sons Egypt Daoud and Genesis Ali Dean. “Telling the boys that the queen requested the songs that I’m singing. They were like, ‘You can’t refuse the queen.’ ”

Fans’ attitudes appeared to have changed, with many flocking to Keys’ comments section congratulating her on a fantastic performance, including one fan who wrote, “You killed it Saturday night. My 10yrs old niece and l were in the crowd and thought you was amazing. A night she will never forget.”

Keys’ husband, Grammy Award-winning producer Swizz Beatz, was spotted in the comments section cheering his wife, writing, “Damn you went crazy my Love !!!!!” He added, “The fact that the Queen requested Empire is Epic.”

The record made headlines after a 2009 MTV Video Music Award performance with Keys and Jay, during which fellow New York rapper Lil Mama crashed the duo’s set. 

The Roc Nation boss went silent on the matter for over a decade before recently sharing, “Of course, of course [we forgive her],” during a Twitter Space conversation last December. “Of course, we love her. … Yes, she’s forgiven. It’s all love, and she was coming from a place of love. It’s just … may have been a little too excited.”

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