Alicia Keys went on a “major rant” against gender stereotypes after a conversation with her 4-year-old son left her “really frustrated.”
The comments, posted in a video on the singer’s Instagram account Sunday, came after Keys took her son, Genesis, to the nail salon.
According to the post, Genesis had originally asked his mom for a rainbow-colored manicure, with Keys letting the stylist paint “each nail a different color.” The 4-year-old was originally excited by his decision, but his mood quickly changed after the manicure was done.
“And after she painted his nails, he looked at me and he said, ‘Mommy, I don’t want this on my nails,'” Keys said in the nearly three-minute video, which has already been viewed nearly 2 million times.
The 15-time Grammy winner went on to explain her son’s change of heart, telling her 17 million Instagram followers why the nails made him self-conscious.
“I was like, ‘Why? You were so sure. You were good,'” Keys said. “And he was like, ‘People are not gonna like it.’ Can you believe this? Four years old. He’s 4! And he already understands the concept that someone’s going to judge him because he chose rainbow colors on his nails.”
Keys said she pushed back on her son’s concerns, telling him a “lot of guys paint their nails” and that he should “stick with it.”
“You chose it. You liked it. You do it. Who cares what anybody else says?” the singer recalled saying to her son.
The singer, who playfully referred to her story as a “major rant,” went on to discuss the larger implications of her conversation with Genesis. Keys told her followers she believes everyone has both masculine and feminine traits, which is why it concerned her that “we can’t just explore these different sides of ourselves.”
“I oftentimes express the masculine energy that’s inside of me… and, all the time, if that happens, there’s the judgments, and there’s the stereotypes, and there’s all the energy that comes towards that,” Keys said. “And for my boys, [the reaction is] 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.”
Keys said she was “really, really frustrated” that her son was forced to feel that way, but she also asked her followers to weigh in with their own thoughts. Many were quick to praise her parenting skills.
“This kid. This expression. This parenting. This thinking. THIS is the stuff that will change the world. For the better,” one commenter wrote on Instagram.
“The sad truth is a lot of parents don’t really encourage their children to be their most authentic selves, and to make choices for them and them only,” another person commented.
Keys, who is married to music producer Swizz Beats, has two children — Genesis and Egypt — in addition to the three kids Beats has from a previous marriage. The couple often posts photos of their children to Instagram.
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