Alicia Keys, the renowned singer and pianist, has won 16 Grammy Awards and has sold millions upon millions of albums. Yet all of it might not have happened, had her mother stuck to her original plan of having an abortion.
The 39-year-old Keys opened up about her upbringing in her new book, “More Myself: A Journey,” a memoir about her life and her efforts at self-discovery. She also spoke to CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith about her story, including how her mother, Terry Augello, almost had an abortion. Augello was a paralegal who got pregnant after a brief relationship with flight attendant Craig Cook. Smith acknowledged that Augello wrestled with the idea of having an abortion, and ended up choosing life for her daughter instead. “Even her mother said to her, ‘Terry, you never do anything easy,'” Keys told Smith. “She was making a really big choice. And at the time, I’m sure she didn’t even know why she was making that choice exactly. But she knew it. She knew what she needed to do.”
Augello took on the challenge of raising a baby girl on her own in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, at the time a dangerous area. “Hard, dangerous, difficult, scary,” Keys said. “I can’t even imagine, as a mother today, me sending my kid off into those streets. But if you had to, I mean, what’s she gonna do? She had to go to work, I had to go to school. We had to live. That’s how it is. I am so grateful to her for choosing me. And I really appreciate her.”
But despite her difficult upbringing, Keys thrived: she became valedictorian of her high school, grew up receiving classical piano training, and was composing her own songs in middle school. After graduating, Keys received a scholarship to Columbia University, an Ivy League school, as well as an offer for a record contract with Columbia Records. She chose to pursue a music career, and the rest is history.
Numerous celebrities and athletes have spoken out about how their mothers almost aborted them, but ultimately chose not to. Comedian and commentator Bill Maher, former NFL star Steve Fitzhugh, rapper Mack Maine, Twitch streamer Ninja, rapper Nick Cannon, and numerous others have thanked their mothers for giving them life, despite difficult circumstances. And while many in society may have once believed their lives wouldn’t amount to anything, they — and countless others — proved that women can overcome obstacles, and children can thrive even when raised in less-than-perfect environments.
As for Keys, she admitted that she didn’t always appreciate the sacrifices her mother made, but now, she has no doubt about how she feels. “I am so grateful to her for choosing me. And I really appreciate her.”
Despite her own personal story and gratefulness for her life, Keys has previously expressed “pro-choice” sentiments on Twitter.
Editor’s Note, 3/24: Added Twitter link.
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