Monday, February 25, 2013
An Open Letter to Alicia Keys
My job here at Artists 4 Israel to refute the lies of the BDS. I am supposed to do so in a professional way. We know what they say to be so inaccurate, wrong, fraudulent, racist and insulting that we need not use tricks or impassioned pleas to discredit it. They claim apartheid, we can simply explain what is apartheid. End of story.
But, for you, I must be impassioned. I must be "set on fire". Alicia, we grew up in the same time period, in the same type of community, in the same mindset. We both continue to battle racism and hate. We are both proud of our heritage, however unusual it may appear to some. You are a strong, proud woman. My father died early and I was raised by a similarly strong and proud woman.
The BDS is going to try and tempt you to cancel your concert in Israel by abusing the word apartheid. It is a definition so far removed from the reality of apartheid that it is insulting to all those who truly suffered under that brutal regime. They are going to hide the fact that those they support are a woman-hating and woman-oppressing set of nations. They are going to ignore the history of racism, not only against Jews but against African-Americans.
They are going to attempt to make you censor yourself. They are going to ask you to oppress yourself and take the music and femininity and strength which brought you to where you are today and throw it away.
Then, when you choose to continue forward, to continue to share your music with the world, they will turn nasty. They will seek to vilify you for choosing freedom of expression over repression. They will call your act too sexy as they did with Rihanna. They will attempt to blackmail and extort you.
Luckily, like myself, you grew up around thugs and criminals. You will not be afraid.
Alicia, "Falling" came out at a time in life when I was DJing at clubs in NY. You would remember them - NV, Cheetah, Life - and you were our biggest star. We would play song after song of aggressive rap. People would be dancing on tables, screaming out the curses and ignorance of these songs. New York was still cold back then. There was still hate we didn't understand. Everyone would be posturing, acting tough, posing for the inevitable pictures, believing themselves to be bigger than the poverty, crime and dirt of New York.
And, then, I would drop "Falling" and we were healed. Grown men would stop their tough act and sing along. There was an acapella version and all I needed to do was let that first line hit the air. All of a sudden, eyes were opened. As you sung the very word, love would fill the room. You helped us transcend.
Alicia, don't take my words about Israel as gospel. It is a beautiful place with freedoms for all, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society. See that for yourself. Don't take the BDS words for gospel. Go to Israel with the same open eyes you provided us those cold, angry nights at the club. Fill the world with more love - help us to transcend once again.