Alicia Keys is using her platform as a singer and songwriter to uplift the voices of those who need to be heard. On June 15, the "Underdog" singer sat down for a virtual chat with The Daily Show's Trevor Noah to discuss the destructive and harmful pervasiveness of racism in America and how these racial injustices have inspired her to take action with her music and beyond.
Alicia explained that her latest song, "Perfect Way to Die," was inspired by Mike Brown — who was killed by police officers in Ferguson, MO, in 2014 — and Sandra Bland — who was found hung in a jail cell in Waller County, TX, after being arrested for a minor traffic violation in 2015. "You hear their stories in these lyrics, and the devastating thing is that it's never not going to be relevant," Alicia said. She then added that she wrote the song with the intention of encapsulating the fire and energy behind the ongoing protests across the country and the outrage that has inspired so many to make their voices heard.
Alicia has also been using her platform to lead a celebrity-filled initiative to seek justice for the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police officers on March 13 after they forcibly entered her home to execute an unannounced drug raid. Through the initiative, Alicia and several Black women celebrities put pressure on the city of Louisville to ban no-knock warrants. On June 11, Louisville's Metro Council unanimously passed Breonna's Law, which prohibits no-knock warrants and requires officer body cameras to be turned on before and after every search.
"We are in a real place that we can all see that this is the most major pandemic of all," Alicia said. "This deeply rooted racism, this police brutality, this treatment of Black people that is just completely unacceptable. To the point where daily we're seeing lives lost, people murdered for nothing, nothing — for being Black." Alicia mentioned that Breonna's sister lived in the room next to hers and was fortunate not to be home the night the police raided their home, pointing out that Breonna's mother could have lost two daughters that night.
Looking toward the future, Alicia hopes to see progress and positive change, adding, "I'm just so honored that this song can be alive in this time when we really are on the precipice of great change." Watch Alicia's full interview with Trevor above, and find out more about how you can be an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement here.