Alice Walker and Alicia Keys are two well-known black female artists whose work exists in very different worlds. Walker is a renowned author and outspoken activist and Keys is a Grammy-winning recording artist. That’s all to say that, generally speaking, their paths don’t cross much. But on Wednesday, Walker released an open letter to Keys in which she tries to get the singer to consider the political consequences of an upcoming performance in Israel. And she throws some serious shade.
It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.
This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.
I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.
Yeah, so basically Alice Walker, who’s supported a cultural boycott of Israel for years, told Alicia Keys, “Google me.” And then go visit Gaza instead. Read Walker’s full letter to Alicia Keys.