Alicia Keys has done something pretty unprecedented, folks. Her newest song, “Blended Family (What You Do For Love)” is a tribute to Mashonda Tifrere, hubby Swizz Beatz’s ex-wife, Tifrere’s son, Kasseem Dean Jr., and the importance of putting aside contention for the sake of your family. And the song is pretty great.
Keys discussed the song’s meaning on social media and via her website before it was released early this morning.
“My new song Blended Family (What You Do For Love) will be available everywhere at Midnight. I’m so excited for you to hear this song. It means so much to me and our whole family,” she said. “The understanding, compassion and support we’ve found is a powerful testament to the healing that comes when we choose love. Especially for the kids… the most important part of our lives. Celebrating Mashonda for our commitment to each other with support and true growth.”
The song features A$AP Rocky (who shares his own unique family story) and most times, is addressed to Kasseem, affirming the singer’s love of him (“I may not really be ya mother, but that don’t mean I don’t really love ya”) as well as the support he has in his blended family. The lyrics that stood out to me most were the ones that acknowledged their complex beginning:
I know it started with a little drama…
I hate you had to read it in the paper
But everything’s all right with me and your mama
Baby, everybody here you know adores you
And I think it’s beautiful
I think it’s perfect
I know hard it gets, but I swear it’s worth it
That’s what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love
There ain’t nothin’, there ain’t nothin’, there ain’t nothin’ I won’t do for us
It may not be easy this blended family but baby, that’s what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love
The song exudes positive energy and is quite beautifully produced. The greatest thing about it, though, is that everyone involved in its creation supports it.
Of course, we know that things weren’t always so copacetic. Tifrere once publicly scolded Keys for carrying on a relationship with the producer while she was trying to repair her marriage to him, writing, “You know the role you played and you know how you contributed to the ending of my marriage. You know that I asked you to step back and let me handle my family issues. Issues that you helped to create…”
Keys would eventually respond to the drama by saying that she started dating Swizz while he and Tifrere were separated. And while that didn’t sit well with the public, the three slowly started to move toward reconciliation. As Keys told Wendy Williams in 2014:
It’s about the kids: When everybody is able to be an adult, which we all are able to be, and we’re able to really recognize that actually, there’s a beautiful value about the way that we can all influence each other’s lives and the lives of the kids. They can really see that they have more than one woman to look to and say, ‘What can I learn here?’ ‘What can I learn there?’ and guidance and love. And it’s fatherhood and motherhood and it’s friendship. It’s really, really important and I think it’s so beautiful. It doesn’t always work but it’s totally possible. And it can work when everybody really wants to do the right thing for the children.
It’s really amazing to see all parties come together for something great. It’s a testament to the power of healing. While many people on the outside still criticize Keys for the way she came to be with Swizz, the woman who would have the most to be upset about has let it go for the betterment of their blended family. That’s truly something to applaud — however you feel about the situation.
The song will be featured on Keys’s new album, Here, set for release on November 4, 2015. Check out “Blended Family” below or on your streaming service of choice.