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2021 Billboard Music Awards - Backstage

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Whether through her artistry or philanthropic efforts, songstress Alicia Keys has used her platform to enlighten and empower, and she continues to do so by bringing compelling narratives to the forefront. The New York native is expanding her imprint in literature with the recent release of her debut graphic novel.

The inspiration for the book, titled “Girl on Fire,” was derived from her 2012 fifth studio album, an award-winning body of work that shares the same moniker. The story chronicles the life of a Brooklyn teenager named Lolo Wright as she navigates family turmoil and the pressures of coming of age within an inner-city community. After Wright discovers she has telekinetic powers, she’s faced with making tough decisions that force her to reflect on how she stewards her newfound abilities.

“Skin, a dangerous dealer with designs on taking over the neighborhood, hears of Lolo’s telekinetic abilities and decides that he needs her in his crew,” read the book’s description. “Skin might not have Lolo’s powers, but he’s got nothing to lose and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And what he wants is Lolo. Lolo’s not willing to let Skin use her to hurt the people—and neighborhood—that she loves. But it’s going to take a whole different kind of bravery to stand up for what’s right.”

The release of “Girl on Fire” comes after the success of her New York Times best-selling memoir “More Myself: A Journey.” Andrew Weiner co-authored the book, which also features vibrant imagery by illustrator Brittney Williams.

Keys says she hopes the novel will help individuals embrace their authenticity and lean into the power of their inner strength.

“When I wrote ‘Girl on Fire,’ I knew I was writing it for that girl in the way back row who needed someone to tell her there’s nothing you can’t do, that nothing is impossible,” she shared in a statement, according to Billboard. “When Andrew and I came up with the idea of translating the song into a young adult graphic novel, I knew that I wanted it to be about a girl coming to realize the strength she’s always had. There’s a little Lolo in all of us—we all have the power inside to do what we never even thought we could—and I’m so proud and crazy excited to be able to share her story with you. You’re going to fall in love with Lolo.”

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