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Alicia Keys says her fashion choices were shaped by ‘grimy’ streets of NYC

Alicia Keys on the cover of Glamour magazine (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Alicia Keys had to be “conscious” about her style choices growing up near “the pornography capital of New York.”

The 39-year-old star grew up between 42nd Street, Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem and she admitted “being so exposed to the streets” helped shape her fashion sense.

Speaking to GLAMOUR UK, she said: “A lot of my fashion and beauty sense comes from being so exposed to the streets at a young age.

“And having to really protect myself in so many ways that I always underplayed everything…

“42nd street was the pornography capital of New York, so the type of people that you would run into on the street were anywhere between hookers, h—, pimps and drug dealers.

“That was where all the X-rated theaters were and the culture there was very grimy.

“Walking by these places and knowing that I had to interface with these people, I always had to be conscious about my toughness, about my boundaries and my clothes, so I was always very pared down in what I wore.”

Meanwhile, the “Girl On Fire” hitmaker also revealed how this year has changed her as a person and made her more confident about “taking risks.”

She added: “Alicia 2020 is super tuned in. I am fully in my power. I’m unafraid of taking risks.

“I’m unafraid of stepping out on a limb for something that’s extremely important.

“I am ready to shift, change and remold, not only myself but everything around me and the world as we need it. So, I’m here to be of service, man.”

And Keys has launched a $1 billion endowment fund to support Black American business and communities, in association with the NFL.

She explained: “As an artist, I’m always thinking about how I can use my platform to further racial equality. Our goal is to empower Black America.

“I can’t believe how many years of systemic racism we have to unravel, and come to terms with, and fight against, and redesign, and recreate.”

Read the full interview in the GLAMOUR UK Autumn/Winter 20/21 print issue at https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/magazine.