Alicia Keys is speaking out in support of self-expression.
In an Instagram post over the weekend, the 38-year-old singer described a recent experience she found concerning with her 4-year-old son, Genesis. Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz, also share a 9-year-old son, Egypt.
"The other day I went to the nail salon with Genesis. He's in the chair and he's like, 'I want [a] rainbow,'" she recalled in a two-and-a-half minute long clip. "So he tells the lady that he wants rainbow colors on his nails. And she brings all of these colors and she paints each nail a different color. And after she painted his nails, he looked at me and he said, 'Mommy, I don't want this on my nails.'"
After asking her son why he had a change of heart, Genesis told his mom, "People are not gonna like it."
"Can you believe this? Four years old. He’s four! And he already understands the concept that someone is gonna judge him because he chose rainbow colors on his nails," she said. "And I told him, 'Why? Nobody's gonna judge you. They're gonna love it. Look how creative you are. Look how amazing. Stick with it. You chose it. You liked it. You do it. Who cares what anyone else says?... Plus, you know, a lot of guys paint their nails. This is not, like, some strange thing that you only do.'"
While that statement "made him feel better," Keys said that the whole experience "got me to thinking how completely judged we are all the time."
"The way I see it is that there is masculine and there's feminine energies inside of us all, period. That's just how it is," she said. "And it gets concerning to me that we can’t just explore these different sides of ourselves, you know? These different energies that are within us."
Keys pointed out that, in her own life, she "oftentimes express[es] the masculine energy that’s inside of me," which she notes is "very natural."
"If that happens, there are the judgments, and there’s the stereotypes, and there's all the energy that come towards that," she explained. "And for my boys, it's similar. If they want to express the feminine energy that’s inside of them there's all of these judgments, and all these rules, and stereotypes and vibes and it's really frustrating to me."
The "No One" singer admitted that she was "really, really frustrated" by the whole experience and wondered, "Why can't we just express the different energies that are inside us?"
"This is a very normal, ancient, powerful, spiritual understanding that we all have masculine and feminine energies and we should be able to explore and express them however we want to," she said, before asking her followers for their views on the subject.
"That's my rant. It's a major rant. I did that," she concluded with a smile and a laugh.