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Alicia Keys Gets Real About Not Expecting Children To Conform To Gender Norms

by Angela Andaloro

Alicia Keys has always lived by her own rules. The 38-year-old singer has long rebuked antiquated ideas about gender, sexuality, and more.

There have been many rumors about her as a result, but she’s never given them the time of day. She’s busy having an amazing career and hard at work as an activist. She also enjoys time with her husband, rapper Swizz Beatz, and their two children, 9-year-old Egypt and 4-year-old Genesis.

Alicia recently shared a story from her misadventures as a boy mom that struck a real chord with her followers.  She took to Instagram to share a story about visiting a nail salon with her son, Genesis.

While the 4-year-old was excited to get rainbows on his nails, he was later afraid of what people might think of him. It made Alicia think about how young children internalize gender norms and leave sides of themselves unexplored as a result.

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It was all a dream...

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Alicia Keys is a powerhouse, not just as a musician but as a human being. The 38-year-old never fails to keep it real. She’s an artist, an activist, an awesome partner to spouse Swizz Beats, and a great mom to her two sons, Egypt and Genesis.

On Saturday, the singer and philanthropist decided to share an experience she had as a parent with her followers. The incident occurred at a nail salon and involved her 4-year-old son Genesis, who accompanied her.

“The other day I went to the nail salon with Genesis,” she told followers. “He’s in the chair and he’s like ‘I want rainbow.’ So he tells the lady that he wants rainbow colors on his nails. And she brings all of these colors, and she paints each nail a different color.”

“And after he painted his nails, he looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, I don’t want this on my nails,'” she continued. “And I was like, ‘Why? You were so sure. You were good.’ And he was like, ‘People are not gonna like it.'”

Alicia couldn’t believe what had just come out of her son’s mouth. “Can you believe this? Four years old. He’s 4!” she exclaimed. “And he already understands the concept that someone’s going to judge him because he chose rainbow colors on his nails.”

“I told him ‘Why? Nobody’s going to judge you. They’re going to love it; it’s so cool.” Alicia continued to encourage her son. “Look at how creative you are, how amazing. You had this idea, so stick with it.”

“‘You chose it. You liked it. You do it. Who cares what anybody else says?'” she told her son. She then went on to tell him that plenty of boys and men paint their nails and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

Telling him that he wasn’t the only boy who likes painting his nails made him feel much better, but the exchange continued to linger in her mind. It made her think about “how completely judged we are all the time.”

Alicia then shared her thoughts on gender roles and stereotypes. “The way I see it, there is masculine and there is feminine energies inside of us all, period,” she explained. “It gets concerning to me that we can’t just explore these different sides of ourselves — these different energies that are within us.”

Even for me, myself, I oftentimes express the masculine energy that’s inside of me,” Alicia shared. “And, all the time, if that happens, there are the judgments, and there are the stereotypes, and there are all the energies that come toward that.”

“And for my boys, [it’s] similar, if they want to express the feminine energy that’s inside of them, there’s all of these judgments, and all these rules, and stereotypes, and vibes,” Alicia noted. “It’s really frustrating to me. I’m actually really, really frustrated about it.”

I ask myself, ‘Why is that? Why can’t we just express the different energies that are inside us?'” Alicia continued. “We should be able to explore and express [our masculine and feminine energies] however we want to.”

Swizz also appeared in the comments for the video to express his support for both his wife and his son. “He’s a young King, and he can explore and express his creativity at anytime ! We support it as his parents 🤲🏾,” he wrote.

So many other people chimed in and shared support and appreciation for Alicia’s mentality and attitudes when it comes to parenting. It goes to show that despite the judgment out there, there’s also a lot of love and support for those who want to be their most authentic selves.