“I think Alicia’s a genuine talent.” This was the heartfelt expression of Mitzi Miller, editor-in-chief of Jet, as she related her thoughts on Alicia Keys’ controversial new interview for the magazine. Ms. Keys graces the cover of this week’s issue to coincide with the release of her Girl on Fire album — yet her intimate sit down with the storied black glossy is making bigger waves for her revelations about her marriage.
The Grammy winner has directly addressed allegations made by Mashonda Tifrere, ex-wife of Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz, in the issue. The R&B singer blames the larger star for her split from the mega-producer, and asserts that Keys dated her former mate while he was still married.
Keys denies it all.
“[They] were apart for some time before we ever got together,” she told Jet. “[T]hat doesn’t matter to those who take pleasure in trying to knock others down.” The musician rarely addressed the accusations before because in her mind, “there’s no need to fight what’s not true.”
By facing down the rumors that have thrived since Keys married Mashonda’s former spouse, Alicia has reignited interest in an aspect of her life that many considered ancient history. Miller still thinks the time was right.
“Even though it is obviously a subject that has been beaten to death, readers are still very curious because she has not spoken out on it to this point,” Miller told theGrio in a phone interview. “We’ve all heard Mashonda’s perspective, and I think people were waiting with baited breath. Is she ever going to say anything? Is she just going to pretend this never happened? I was thankful actually that she was willing to set the record straight from her perspective. No one is entitled to information about a celebrity’s personal life, but the way that things are now with social media and the nature of celebrity culture, people are definitely much more vocal about their curiosity.”
Reactions to Keys’ revelation have varied. Mashonda herself has weighed in, retorting to Global Grind, “No, we were not ‘apart’ or separated, and that’s just a fact that can be proven in many ways.”
Other responses have been quite benign. “I can’t say with certainty that Alicia broke up Swizz’s marriage with Mashonda, but what I do know is that she and Swizz have been married for over two years now and have an adorable son together,” noted entertainment blogger Mara the Hip-Hop Socialite.
“There are fans that are going to be happy for Alicia regardless of what happened,” Miller agrees. “And then there are others that are grateful to have heard from her.” For some, it was necessary to hear her story as she saw it, regardless of the timing of the delivery.
While fans and star watchers are eargerly digesting this news, a big winner in this scenario is Jet magazine as a leader in black media. “We’re excited that she decided to speak to us so intimately, instead of going to a People, or an Us Weekly, which she certainly could have done. Nowadays, that’s what the competition is,” Miller added. “For me it’s a matter of creating an environment where our celebrities speak their truths and come here first to tell their stories.”
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.