American Masters


Alicia Keys doesn’t mind being compared to Lena Horne

The musician talks about why she admires Horne so much and how one of her dreams would be to play her. She also explains what she means when she says that she’s “ready to be free.”

AIRED: January 18, 2021 | 0:02:01

- Well, see what happens is people compare me

to Lena Horne a lot (laughs).

And actually that's my dream.

One of my dreams, you know?

That's one of my dreams is to play Lena Horne,

because you could just kinda get the sense of the sass,

and determination, and like, "get out my way,"

that she has had in her.

So, that's what I think of when I think of Lena Horne.

And as Black women, our truths as artists

is a unique truth, and it's a layered truth,

and it's a complex truth.

It is one that is so beautiful,

and it is so incredibly moving, and it deserves to be told,

and heard, and understood, and recognized and celebrated.

And all the things that happen when you're exposed

to a variety of people's truths.

You know what I mean?

So, yes, I do think that, for me,

I do think it is very important

to talk about what is happening in the world.

And specifically as Black women, to talk about

what's happening to us.

And who we are.

What I mean when I say I'm ready to be free

is just I'm ready to let go of anything

that is holding me back.

And I find that a lot of the things that hold me back

are self-imposed.

And I think in so many ways, for so many of us,

they're self-imposed, they're imposed upon us by each other.

They're imposed by us, onto us, by society,

by all the oppressions that are constantly around us.

And I'm ready to be face to face with myself

and honor myself.


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