That voice! Alicia Keys sang a moving original poem about equality at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at NYC’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday, August 28.
The “Girl on Fire” singer, 35, presented her piece in honor of the 53rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.
“If war is holy and sex is obscene, then we have to twist it in this lucid dream. That ties in boundaries, scooped in sin, divided by difference, sexuality and skin,” she said, before singing a cappella.
“So we can feel each other, hate each other, we can break these walls, we can build these walls between each other, baby, blow by blow, brick by brick, keep yourself locked in, yourself locked,” she continued. “Maybe we can love somebody. Maybe we can care a little more. Maybe we can love somebody. Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war.”
The new Voice mentor ended the powerful poem with her wish for the future. “I still believe in that dream,” she added, “that one day our nation is going to rise up and finally be completely about the true meaning about this creed that all women and men are created equal.”
Keys, who went without makeup for the show, then presented the Best Male Video at the VMAs, which went to Calvin Harris for his summer smash “This Is What You Came For.” (Back in May, Keys wrote an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter explaining that she decided not to wear makeup anymore because women are often judged on their appearances.)
Back in 2014, Keys released the uplifting song “Power” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Watch Keys at the VMAs in the video above!
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