Alicia Keys: Blender Misrepresented 'Gangsta Rap' Comments

R&B star Alicia Keys has issued a statement a formal statement surrounding controversial comments made in the May issue of Blender Magazine, which hit stands today (April 15). In a recent article, the Grammy Award winning singer told Blender Magazine that “Gangsta rap was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap didn‘t exist,’” she explained.

“I feel it is necessary to clarify the comments that were made during my recent Blender magazine interview since they have been misrepresented,” Keys stated. “Anyone who knows me and my character, knows that I am not a conspiracy theorist or, by implication, a racist. My comments about 'gangsta rap' were in no way trying to suggest that the government is responsible for creating this genre of rap music. The point that I was trying to make was that the term was over-sloganized by some of the media causing reactions that were not always positive. Many of the 'gangsta rap' lyrics articulate the problems of the artists' experiences and I think all of us, including our leaders, could be doing more to address these problems including drugs, gang violence, crime, and other related social issues.”

In the article, Keys revealed that she had read several autobiographies by various Black Panther members, including influential founder Huey P. Newton.

She stated that the murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."

The comments made headlines across the world and prompted a number of follow-up articles and commentaries, which labeled Keys a “conspiracy theorist.”

The songstress also admitted to wearing a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck to symbolize her “strength, power and killing ‘em dead.”

“Regarding the AK-47 reference, AK-47 is a nickname given to me by some of my friends in jest, as an acronym for Alicia Keys and a metaphor for wowing people with my music and performances, "killing 'em dead" on stage,” Keys said. “The reference was in no way meant to have a literal, political or negative connotation.”

While Keys admitted that her music may become more politicized in the future, she said the Blender article painted her as much more radical than she actually is.

“The recent implications about me are too radical and too dramatic a departure from whom I have continually demonstrated myself to be,” Keys said. “I work so hard and give so much of myself to bring about positive change to this world, and I only wish those efforts received as much press and attention as the misinterpretations of the Blender article."