If you are the same age as I am, then you probably remember a very young cornrow wearing, piano playing girl singing about she kept falling in and out of love with her man. And if you are the same age as me, you were probably in high school feeling like she was singing to you personally, because at 14 we knew what real love was, right? Her debut album Songs in a minor went on to go certified platinum six times, but not before selling almost 7 million copies in the US and 12 million internationally. But it didn’t stop there for the Piano Protegeé, as she has released 5 more albums since then including her latest project, Here, just this past November. Selling over 17 million albums, almost 22 million digital songs and being Billboard’s fifth most successful artist of the 2000s decade, it is safe to say Alicia Keys is anything but a one-hit wonder. 16 years later after her first single, as we celebrate Alicia’s 36th birthday, we will remember her five most memorable philanthropic efforts during her career.
Alicia Keys never hid how much she wants to bring awareness to the concerns of society and all over the world. From performing at the LIVE EARTH concert in 2007 to recording a cover version of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush’s Don’t Give Up, alongside U2 lead singer BONO for World AIDS day two years prior, Alicia has always donated or volunteered her celebrity status and voice for those without. Her efforts, of course, did not go unnoticed, she was honored with the Humanitarian award at the 2009 BET Awards.
1. Alicia Keys co-founds the “Keep A Child Alive” Foundation
Keep A Child Alive was founded in 2003 after Alicia (Global Ambassador) And the very first donor Peter Edge joined the cause, sponsoring children alongside International Model Iman and others. Keep A Child Alive brings awareness to the already 30+ million people that has died from the debilitating disease AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and the millions that are either threatened and/or orphaned by the disease. Keep A Child Alive also brings awareness and funds to the foundation by hosting The Black Ball, an annual fundraiser gala that brings celebrity and philanthropy together. The event takes place in New York and has raised almost $20 million since 2004.
2. Alicia Keys performs at the ReAct now: Music and Relief and the Shelter from the storm benefit concerts
Alicia Keys performed at the ReAct Now: Music and Relief (above) a four-and-a-half long televised concert in September of 2005. The benefit concert, which other stars such as, Green Day, David Banner, Bon Jovi, U2, Common and others raised about $30 million for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts through the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Feeding American, formerly America’s Second Harvest. Shelter from the storm: A concert for the Gulf Coast was a one-hour long benefit concert that also aired in September of 2005. Another benefit concert that raised money for the relief efforts for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
3. Alicia Keys Speaks the United Nations AID Conference.
Alicia Keys was invited to speak at the HIV Priorities for positive change: In Women’s words Panel during the United Nations AID Conference in June of 2011. She sat the panel alongside musician and fellow philanthropist Annie Lennox.
“If we show the next generation of women and girls that we care by providing the resources to achieve universal access, this will empower them. If we do that, we will stop the epidemic in its tracks.”
4.Alicia Keys founded and funded the organization We Are Here in light of the brutal murders of Black Men in the U.S.
Alicia keys and the We Are Here Movement teamed up with MIC to released a star-studded video title, “23 ways you can be killed if you are black in america” in light of the deaths of black men and women by the hands of the Police. The video based on the piece “23 Everyday actions punishable by death if you are black in america“, featured stars like Beyonce, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Pharrell, Rihanna and many more.
Protesting against Trump’s presidency became a global success as women all over the world marched in unity. New York, Washington, London, Toronto, Paris and many other countries spoke out against inequality against women. Alicia Keys, among other stars such as Madonna, America Ferrera, Orange is the new black’s Uzo Aduba and others march in solidarity for Women Empowerment. Before performing her hit single Girl On Fire, Alicia shared her thoughts on the cause.
“We are mothers, we are caregivers, we are artists, we are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise.“