Alicia Keys' Comments Were Off Key

Alicia Keys poses with her awards for best R&B vocal performance and best R&B song backstage at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Alicia Keys says she's not a conspiracy theorist.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Keys said she was clarifying "comments that were made during my recent Blender magazine interview since they have been misrepresented."

According to an interview in the magazine's May issue, the 27-year-old singer says: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist." She also is quoted as saying that she wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead."

"We stand by our story," Blender spokeswoman Kate Cafaro told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Photos: Celebrity Circuit
"My comments about 'gangsta rap' were in no way trying to suggest that the government is responsible for creating this genre of rap music," Keys said in a statement issued by J Records. "The point that I was trying to make was that the term was oversloganized by some of the media causing reactions that were not always positive. Many of the 'gangsta rap' lyrics articulate the problems of the artists' experiences and I think all of us, including our leaders, could be doing more to address these problems including drugs, gang violence, crime, and other related social issues."

As for the AK-47 remark, Keys said Tuesday that AK-47 is a nickname given to her by friends "as an acronym for Alicia Keys and a metaphor for wowing people with my music and performances, 'killing 'em dead' on stage. The reference was in no way meant to have a literal, political or negative connotation."

When AP attempted to reach Keys last week about the Blender interview, her publicist, Theola Borden, said the singer was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

The multiplatinum star behind the hits "Fallin"' and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which has sold 3.4 million copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
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