Alicia Keys Stuck to Her No Makeup Vow at MTV VMAs 2016 Red Carpet


Baring it all! Alicia Keys continued to make good on her no-makeup promise at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City on Sunday, August 28.

The “In Common” singer, 35, looked stunning in a red and black Just Cavalli long-sleeved printed maxi dress and a Jennifer Fisher gothic initial necklace alongside her husband, Swizz Beatz. A braided topknot allowed Keys to display her glowing skin, free of any traces of foundation, eye shadow or lipstick. Before presenting the award for Best Male Video, the “Voice” judge paid tribute to the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave 53 years ago to the day, with a poem and an a cappella song. 

Keys’ fresh face isn’t a one-time occurrence, though. The mom of Egypt, 5, and Genesis, 20 months, vowed to go without a full face in a May 2016 Lenny Letter essay, where she reflected on how makeup controlled her entire outlook.

Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys attends the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28 in New York City. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

“Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking,” she said. “And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”

But after a stripped-down shoot with the photographer Paola, she was able to remember beauty’s skin-deep meaning. “It was just a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately relating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic circulating. And I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt,” she continued. “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

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