Alicia Keys: ‘You Are Allowed to Be Smart’

You know Alicia Keys. She is the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter behind hits like ‘Fallin’ and ‘A Woman’s Worth’. She has major songwriting chops, a killer voice, a winning smile, and, if that weren’t enough, she’s a genuinely beautiful woman to boot.

Keys also happens to be an exceptionally smart and hard-working person. She was valedictorian of her performing arts high school when she graduated at age 16, and in every interview or public appearance she makes, her thoughtfulness and intelligence is reaffirmed.

Smart. Beautiful. Talented. Things must have really come easy for her, right?

Not so fast. Keys recently revealed that she spent most of her life trying to hide her gifts so that she would fit in with those around her. In essence, she’s talking about the same type of issues that millions of students still face every day.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hidden myself. It might have started in school when I realized that I caught on to things a little quicker, and teachers started to show slight favor to me, or use me as an example. I remember feeling like my friends would make fun of me or look at me as if I was different from them and so… I started hiding. Not intentionally, I didn’t mean to, but I did. Little pieces at a time.

Keys goes on to point out that “I don’t have to hide anymore, I don’t have to pretend to hold back, I don’t have to think that my intelligence . . . [is] intimidating to others.”

And you know what? She’s exactly right.

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photo courtesy of Jose Goulao via Wikimedia Commons

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