At the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in August, Alicia Keys arrived with no makeup. In many interviews she mentioned that the industry forced her to change, and she become a chameleon.
“I remember when I first started to be in the public eye. Oh my god! Everyone had something to say: She’s so hard, she acts like a boy, she must be gay, she should be more feminine!’ But the truth is, I was just from New York, and everyone I knew acted like that.” she said in a interview In a powerful essay for Lena Dunham’s newsletter.
One day she got to a photo shoot for her new album, with no makeup and her photographer, Paola Kudacki, wanted to shoot her as she arrived—real and raw, just like her album. She hesitated at first, but the result, she wrote, was powerful.