In a sign of heightened tensions and sensitivity on social media amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, Alicia Keys clarified why she deleted an Instagram post on Monday that referred to paragliding.
Earlier on Monday, Keys had posted a picture of herself wearing a green leather jacket with the caption, “What would you do if u weren’t afraid of anything??? Tell me your truth…”
She then added, “I’ve had my eyes on paragliding…👀👀”
Almost immediately, some users on Instagram called Keys out for being insensitive, with many saying that the word paragliders was triggering given their use by Hamas terrorists during the infiltration of Israel in the Oct. 7 attack. Some users on Instagram also went so far as to suggest Keys was wearing green in sympathy for Hamas.
Keys deleted the post, and late on Monday posted a short statement to her Instagram Stories. “The post I shared was COMPLETELY unrelated in any way to the recent devastating loss of innocent lives. My heart has been breaking…. I pray for and stand for peace.”
Keys and her husband the music producer Swizz Beats live in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, a popular area for paragliding. The La Jolla neighborhood is also less than a 15-minute journey from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Keys also spoke about paragliders using the area around her house, and how she wanted to try it, in a December 2021 appearance on The Breakfast Club.
In 2013, the Grammy-winning artist was also heavily criticized for performing in Israel. In response to an open letter from The Color Purple author Alice Walker asking Keys not to perform in Tel Aviv, the singer told The New York Times, “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
Israeli-American talent manager Guy Oseary, who had previously managed Keys while she was Maverick, defended the singer on Instagram. “There’s talk of an antisemitic post that my dear friend Alicia Keys had up on her Instagram,” Oseary wrote. “I can confirm to anyone in my ✡️ community that needs to hear it: it’s NOT true.”
“There was a specific word in her post that our community at this very painful time find very triggering, but it was absolutely not connected in any way,” Oseary continued. “I spoke to Alicia and she was horrified to learn what the word implied and immediately took it down.”
He added, “Alicia has always been a fighter for all human rights. I’ve had a front row seat for over a decade of seeing her positive influence in the world. Her humanitarian work reflects her empathy and her heart.”