Alicia Keys has claimed that she was “manipulated” and “objectified” by a photographer when she was 19 years old.
Keys has opened up about the experience in her new book More Myself, which she says took place during a magazine photoshoot while she was preparing to release her 2001 debut album ‘Songs in A Minor’.
The singer-songwriter wrote that an unnamed photographer convinced her team to allow them to shoot her alone, while also requesting that she “open[ed] up [her] shirt a little” and “pull[ed] the top of [her] jeans down a bit in the front”.
“My spirit is screaming that something is wrong, that this feels sleazy,” Keys continued. “But my protests, lodged in the back of my throat, can’t make their way out. I swallow my misgivings, tuck my thumb between the denim and my skin, and obey.”
She added: “This isn’t about me showing some skin, which I’ll do on my own terms, for my own purposes, in the coming years. It’s about feeling manipulated. It’s about being objectified.”
Keys went on to explain that her manager was appalled by the final magazine cover, which was released a few months later. The star said she was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” of the images and did not recognise herself in them.
“I now understand why the photographer wanted my team out of that room,” she wrote. “A nineteen-year-old girl is more pliable than a set of her grown-ass managers.
“I swear that I’ll never again let someone rob me of my power. It’s a promise I still work to keep.”
Keys’ new book More Myself was published yesterday (March 31).