It is befitting that I kick-started the women’s month by reading about the personal life, career, successes, and future dreams of one of the leading women in the world, Alicia Keys.
While the book was released just before women’s month here in South Africa, however, I personally take this book as a gift to many women across the globe, especially South African women as they celebrate a month of their own.
In this autobiography boldly titled More Myself- A Journey, 15-time Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, Alicia Keys not only documents her childhood experience in Hell’s Kitchen, her extraordinary singing career, her married life to her superstar husband or her difficult relationship with her daddy, but she opens up to the world about who she really is in all her entirety.
In a world which continues to define and force identities, and police women’s bodies on a daily basis, Alicia emerges as a victor who refuses to be defined and controlled by our heteropatriarchal society. She chooses to self-identify and self-determine.
Perusing through the pages of this book, I was left encouraged, motivated, inspired, and most importantly educated as a man living in a world that is anti-women. While many women will be inspired by how Alicia won the battle against society’s oppressive beauty standards, such as only wearing make-up whenever she likes and not be forced by society to do that in order to be called beautiful.
As a man reading this book, I was left educated about the importance of a man’s role and his presence in the lives of his children, especially their daughters. While reading through this beautiful story of Alicia, one cannot miss the point that Alicia’s father, who was absent throughout her childhood, is not really a key person in her life. Despite their present cordial relationship, it becomes clear through the pages of this book that the man is not the most important person in Alicia’s life, and it seems he will never be.
This point is proved even further in the acknowledgement part, where the author acknowledges everyone for their role in her journey to this point but not her father. This will be a lesson to young fathers that it is important to really be there for our children at a very young age, be present in their growing up and play our part in terms of building relations with them no matter our differences with their mothers.
More Myself proves that Alicia Keys is more than an artist, a mother, wife, social justice activist, fierce feminist and a songwriter, but she is a woman who knows who she is and appreciates herself before the world. This book is a gift to many young girls and boys that it is important to forever remain true to oneself and refuse to be defined by the world and its endless demands. This is a beautiful read from a beautiful soul.