Alicia Keys dropped her seventh studio album, Alicia, over the weekend and has been hitting the promo trails heavy. The album was oft-delayed due to the pandemic but finally was granted a release on September 18th. Along with the album’s release, the 15 time Grammy Award-winning artist was also named along with British six-time Formula 1 driver and world champion Lewis Hamilton as one of the ambassadors “Cares For What Matters” S-Class campaign. The corporation however has recently made a statement that has brought them in the social media line of fire.
Since 2001, the New York City singer/songwriter has been impacting the music scene. The release of her first single “Fallin’” from her debut album “Songs in the Key of A Minor” set the tone for what would be many more a strong release. The album would be released to strong critical acclaim and win Keys five Grammys at that year’s ceremony, including Best New Artist, Best R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Song of the Year.
Positive reviews would pour in from all over the world. “Q” magazine, a popular music publication based in the UK said of the “You Don’t Know My Name” artist that she had a “voice that challenges Mary J. Blige’s”. Another monthly publication based in London said at the time that Keys sings “like a young Aretha Franklin”.
The “Superwoman” singer would go on throughout the span of her career to release many more critically acclaimed albums and win a plethora of awards, including 17 NAACP Image Awards, and 12 ASCAP Awards. She’s also sold over 40 million albums and over 35 million singles worldwide and has been placed on numerous lists such as VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and “100 Greatest Women in Music”, as well as placing on Time Magazine’s “100 List of Most Influential People” twice, in 2005 and 2017. Various media outlets also named her the “reigning Queen of R&B” at times.
Now the “Underdog” singer has more on her plate along with the album and its upcoming 2021 tour (originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to Covid-19) being one of the ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz’s newest campaign, that launches in December 2020. “The focus of the campaign is on the fundamental importance of authentic and responsible interaction that reflects the zeitgeist, today more than ever,” says Bettina Fetzer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz AG. “With global stars such as Alicia Keys and Lewis Hamilton as ambassadors, we have great personalities who authentically embody the central idea of our ‘Cares for what matters’ S-Class campaign. Both of them use their voices to speak out for others, and take a stand on important issues that shape our society.”
The corporation sent out a tweet to celebrate their newest collaborator’s latest album release, and in the midst labeled her the “Queen of Soul”, a title well known to be given to the late Aretha Franklin. “The queen of soul @aliciakeys has done it once again,” they tweeted. “Congratulations on your new album. We love collaborating with you!” Social media was quick to correct the automobile company as they began to comment for them to retract the statement. “She ain’t no damn Queen of Soul. May your auto sales decrease for this blasphemy,” tweeted one user. Another commented, “How White and rural is your agency/team? Everyone, I mean everyone knows Aretha is the queen of soul. Also a quick Google search would have told you she’s an RnB artist. Geesh now you’ve dragged Alicia into this cultural incompetence.”
The queen of soul @aliciakeys has done it once again. Congratulations on your new album. We love collaborating with you! https://t.co/piA0STYjM4#CaresForWhatMatters #TheNewSClass #MercedesBenz #ALICIA #AliciaKeys pic.twitter.com/sAQuNy3MhX— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) September 19, 2020
Check out some more reactions from users who found the tweet to be disrespectful.
That title has already been *earned. pic.twitter.com/UBZi3AlwZf— ADOSCapitol (@AdosCapitol) September 20, 2020
Here is a live look at what would have happened if @MercedesBenz had just one Black person in their marketing department (which they obviously don’t) when somebody suggested tagging anybody other than #ArethaFranklin as the #QueenOfSoul in a @Twitter post… pic.twitter.com/wHZrlhLKBr— Sheletta Brundidge (@ShelettaIsFunny) September 20, 2020
I thought Aretha Franklin was the queen of soul. What is up with the erasure?— TajMarieX 😷 (@TajMarie17) September 20, 2020