Alicia Keys has long championed the fight against AIDS/HIV in children across the globe, and the Grammy award-winning singer says having kids of her own only fuels to her passion.
“It’s always been way more impactful — even in part of my speech tonight, I talk about how the children who don’t receive access to the medicine that Keep a Child Alive provides oftentimes won’t reach 2 years old,” Keys told PEOPLE at the 13th annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in New York on Wednesday.
“And my son [Genesis] is just about to be 2 years old. Whoa. Can you imagine? So, it gives me a reference point that’s way different than even before. It’s an even deeper understanding of why the fight against AIDS has to continue.”
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The “Girl on Fire” singer shares two sons — Egypt, 6, and 21-month-old Genesis — with her husband, producer Swizz Beatz — Beatz also has a 10-year-old son, Kaseem Jr., from a previous relationship. The producer talked about the importance of having his children see their parents’ work in the fight to end AIDS, praising Keys’ dedication to the cause.
“I really see my wife on the front lines,” he told reporters at the event. “What people don’t understand is this is her every day. She’s calling governors and signing petitions to change laws and she’ll never speak about it. [For her to] be so humble and so graceful in her movements is very inspiring.”
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And Keys’ passion for the calls isn’t all her children have influenced. Earlier this week, the singer said motherhood has taught her how crucial self-care and meditation can be.
“It’s been really important for me,” she said of the practice during the Brooklyn leg of WME’s Together conference on Monday. “I started time and time [again], tried it, fell asleep. But now it’s a need. It’s a yearning, a desire.”
At Wednesday’s event, Keys told reporters that the annual ball represents “the beginning of finding my purpose,” a journey the singer details in her forthcoming album Here.
“This album is the best music that I’ve ever made so far,” she said. “It’s the most raw, the most urgent, the most conversational, the most honest that my music’s ever been. That’s why I called it Here because I’m finally here.”