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Alicia Keys encourages kids to speak up in candid discussion about offensive language

Milan Zrnic

In a timely special titled, Nick News Presents: Kids, Race, and UnityAlicia Keys opens up about the importance of speaking up and holding people accountable — especially when something is offensive.

At one point during Monday night’s episode, a young girl shared that she’s experienced friends using hurtful or offensive language, explaining that “sometimes, for example, if they’re sing[ing] like a song or something and has like an offensive word in it they have a tendency to sing along to it and not really pay attention.”

Keys, who has two children with producer Swizz Beats, then offered up her perspective and some advice on how to handle a situation like this in the future. 

“One of the things I’ve been thinking about in my family and my friends as well is how important it is to hold each other accountable,” the Grammy-Award winner said. “What I mean by that is speaking up and saying, ‘Hey, that’s not cool. That really makes me feel uncomfortable. I would like to explain to you why that makes me feel uncomfortable to me and as my friend, I’d love for you to consider not using that word.'”

Keys added that she even holds herself to the same standard. 

“Even as myself, I want to share that I feel very strongly about the N-word,” she admitted. “I ask people to replace the word king for that word. Can you say king? Can you say brother? Even giving people another language to use.”

By Danielle Long
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