” Even after Keys and Beatz wed in 2010, after she denied the rumors she interfered in his first marriage in Essence magazine, and after the love triangle made peace (even vacationing together), the notion persisted that her career had been tarnished by the bad publicity.
In 2011, when the couple faced rumors Beatz cheated on Keys, and again in 2014 when he was caught contacting an Instagram model, bloggers cited karma.
The intense tabloid attention quickly eroded Keys’ privacy — and the good-girl image she’d enjoyed.
The headlines, which were once so complimentary, turned sour: “Is Alicia Keys Wrecking a Marriage? "; and, perhaps most damning, “Why Does Swizz Beatz Keep Ruining Alicia Keys?
(It’s worth noting that, in keeping with the strange way that The Voice’s rotating chairs double as a PR spin zone, the relationship between Stefani and her Voice co-star Blake Shelton has helped both stars reclaim their public narratives.) For Keys, who had previously been a mentor on the show, the promotion seems to come at the perfect time, while she’s reinventing herself and promoting both an as-yet untitled new album and “Back to Life,” her contribution to the soundtrack of the upcoming film Queen of Katwe.But something seemed a bit off during her DNC performance.Keys began her set with 2007’s “Superwoman,” a girl-power jam intended to inspire Clinton’s base.” The couple carried on despite the gossip, and despite Swizz’s wife’s efforts to publicly shame them.Mashonda wrote that Keys “assisted in destroying a family” in a 2009 open letter to Keys that she published on Twitter.Movie roles — in Smokin’ Aces, The Nanny Diaries, and The Secret Life of Bees — soon followed.An uneasy sex symbol, Keys’ early career was marked by gay rumors that were seemingly exacerbated by the singer’s decision not to publicly discuss her romantic life (in early 2012, queer musician Syd tha Kid reignited those claims).Styled in beaded cornrows, flowing scarves, and flared hip-huggers, she burst onto the music scene like a pop send-up of the ’70s jazz multi-instrumentalist Patrice Rushen.In a 2001 profile, Rolling Stone heaped on honorifics, hailing her as “The Next Queen of Soul,” and “neosoul’s newest princess, a black woman impacted equally by hip-hop, soul, Prince and classical.” Keys was a dual-threat: By playing the piano and singing, she claimed the prodigious space Lauryn Hill had recently abandoned while also appealing to the mainstream crowds that eluded her alt-R&B cadre D’Angelo and Erykah Badu.She further explained, “I realized that during this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding. ” She describes channeling that frustration into her music, into a song called “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself,” which name-checks Maybelline cosmetics.I needed these songs because I was really feeling those insecurities. If it feels a bit like the focus on makeup reflects a deeper existential struggle, that’s not only because for many women, going makeup-free yields a similar crisis of confidence.