Swizz Beatz, husband of Alicia Keys, says the hip-hop industry lacks compassion Story-level
Produced by gabriel noble other kate murphy
“Dear Men” is a weekly show hosted by Jason Rosario, creator of the media lifestyle company the lives of men. “Dear Men” explores how men navigate the evolution of masculinity. You can catch the full episode of the current week every Wednesday at 8 pm ET on Roku.
Iconic hip-hop producer and husband of Alicia Keys, swizz beatz, he is not afraid to tell his friends that he loves them. “They might think we’re really in love,” she teased. But it’s not something many men are necessarily comfortable with because showing emotion and being vulnerable with our friends is seen as a sign of weakness.
Swizz’s friends include some of the biggest names in hip-hop including DMX, Jay-Z and Nas, just to name a few. Swizz and I met up in our shared hometown of the Bronx for the Yahoo news show “Dear Men” to talk about those deep connections and the brotherhood he shares with them.
“It has been a great journey to see how many people in the industry trust me and call me. Even though they’re older than me, I’m still the big brother,” he said. “It’s been an honor to help give more than take in this industry.”
One friendship that spans decades is with rapper DMX, who was released from prison in January after serving a year for tax evasion. Recently, the two picked up where they left off in the best way they know how: making music together in the studio.
“We started our career and the world met us together,” said Swizz. “So for me, to leave him out because of personal things that he’s dealing with, that’s not even part of my DNA.”
Brotherhood, love and raising a good man were all felt up close in the Beatz-Keys home. Swizz has five children, four of whom are boys. “For me, in my home, it’s actually very open,” he said. “I get strict when I need to. You have to give kids space and time to navigate.”
Keys also recently released a single called “Raise a Man.” “She brought up a very important point where it’s like, how can you raise a man at a time when it’s not okay for her to love a man?” he said. “There are some people who do a couple of things that are horrible – all men are subjected to the same thing, but there are a lot of great men out there, I know a lot of them, I’m one myself. ”
When it comes to the great men he knows, especially in the hip-hop industry, Swizz says they need to celebrate more, if only with a birthday card. “Sometimes our culture is crazy,” he said. “We are always there for the negativity… but where is the celebration of the positive things? I think our industry lacks that compassion, that love for each other.”
“In hip-hop we talk about billionaires and millionaires and all that, and nobody celebrates each other,” he said. “We made endless hits together, we made history together, why don’t we throw ‘just because’ parties for each other?”
So I just urge us to celebrate each other a little more, because everyone else is celebrating each other. For me personally, having a group of guys that I can lean on has been one of the most rewarding feelings of my life. These guys are like brothers to me, and we’ve been there to support each other through some of our highest and lowest moments. But, like any relationship, it takes time, effort, and a willingness to be vulnerable to each other as men to build those connections. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, and if you take care of them right, those friends can become family.