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Many celebrities have causes but far too many seem more interested in the public relations of giving back rather than the act itself. Alicia Keys is not one of those celebs. Spend a little time with her as we were lucky to do for her Guest Editor role on iVillage and it's clear helping others is deeply important to her.
"My mother, I think what she taught me the most, was empathy," Alicia told us during a recent in-depth interview at a New York City hotel. "She had this poster of the golden rule, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' And boom, I remember it being in the house. And she would always reference that in different ways, like, 'How would that make you feel?'”
That empathy ultimately led Alicia to create the Keep a Child Alive charity, devoted to providing medicines in India and Africa to families with children who have HIV/AIDS. "I understand what it feels like to be afraid and I understand what it feels like to not have what you wish you did. And, I understand what it feels like to be ignored and I feel all those things really deeply so it means something to me to be able to listen to somebody else and to be able to do something for somebody else."
Watch as Alicia talks about what it will feel like presenting an award to one of her greatest role models, Oprah Winfrey:
On Thursday, she'll do something for someone who has been giving back her entire career -- one of her biggest sources of inspiraton, Oprah Winfrey. Alicia will be presenting a special award to Oprah at her 9th annual Black Ball event, a fund-raiser for Keep a Child Alive, which will also feature performances by Beyonce, Carole King and Alicia herself, and will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.
"I think she's (Oprah's) the first person that ever showed me that you don't have to be some greedy jerk to be successful," said Alicia. "You can be just as successful by doing things that really do something for somebody."
So what's it going to feel like to present an award to someone she considers one of the biggest sources of inspiration in her life? "I'm so grateful for her reminding us of so many things," says Alicia. "To be able to celebrate her, honestly, is going to be really emotional and exciting and I feel -- I don't know how I'm going to feel. We'll see. I'll try to hold myself together."
She might pinch herself, but who could blame her!
Thank you, Alicia Keys, for what you are doing to help those less fortunate, for continuing to shine a light on the plight of HIV/AIDS, for showing you can be successful by doing things that really matter and for joining us this week as Guest Editor of iVillage.
You truly are a girl on fire, and you've helped so many of us see the "fire" in our own lives!
For more information on Keep a Child Alive, click here! And click here to find out more about Keep a Child Alive's 9th Annual Black Ball fund-raiser, being held in New York City on Nov. 1 and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and featuring performances by Beyonce, Carole King and Alicia herself.