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Alicia Keys’ Mom Shares Never-Before-Told Story about Raising Her Biracial Daughter without a Father

Gracious Egedegbe
Oct 05, 2021
11:00 A.M.

During the first episode of Alicia Keys' new series, "NOTED: Alicia Keys The Untold Stories," the singer interviewed her mom, who opened up about raising her without her father.


American musician Alicia Keys is one of the biggest stars ever to grace the industry. She has multiple hits and Grammy Awards to her name and makes incredible music to this day.

The singer-songwriter is married to music producer Swizz Beatz and they share two sons, Egypt and Genesis. While there is no doubt about Keys' career and personal success, there are untold stories of how she achieved it.

Alicia Keys at Variety's "Power of Women: New York" at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Alicia Keys at Variety's "Power of Women: New York" at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

One person who played a significant role in her success story is her mother, Terria Joseph, who solely raised her in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in New York.

On September 30, Keys' new series, "NOTED: Alicia Keys The Untold Stories," premiered on YouTube. In the series, the singer took viewers on a trip to explore her life's journey.


That journey would not have been complete without her mom, who she credited with helping her to grow through the chaos of New York.


During the first episode of her series, Keys and her mom were in the kitchen doing the dishes when the latter began reflecting on her daughter's childhood.

Keys described her mom as fiery and a boss and revealed she worked so hard for them that she hardly ever slept. The Grammy Award-winning singer said she got her drive from her mother.

After putting her calendar together, she zeroed in on Keys' father, Craig Cook.


Keys' mom was a paralegal and part-time actress. She reflected on her acting career and described how she started acting after initially being a dancer.

The mother-daughter duo peered over some of Joseph's old pictures from a production she was involved in. Keys then said she and her mom were having a moment, and she decided to ask her some questions to get her perspective about them.

Keys asked her mother if she remembered where she was when she found out she was pregnant with her. Joseph replied saying she did not take a pregnancy test because it was not available then. Instead, her main source of healthcare was planned parenthood.


When she discovered she was pregnant, she was surprised. However, she knew what her options were at the time and wanted to have an abortion.

She made an appointment for the procedure but didn't push through with it. Baby Keys wanted to come through and left her mom with no choice but to give birth to her.


Joseph had to figure out who the father might be because she was dating several men. But after putting her calendar together, she zeroed in on Keys' father, Craig Cook, as the person responsible.

Cook made Joseph many promises and got close to her around the time Keys was six. Joseph thought they would make a family, but Cook decided to return to his ex-girlfriend, abandoning his daughter and baby mama.

The development shocked Joseph. It was then she began feeling no one cared about her. Keys asked her mom how she felt about the fact that it would be them alone. Joseph said she was always clear it was about them alone, and Cook would never help out.


In the video, Keys described how her dad's absence made her feel. Joseph also spoke about how she helped her daughter discover her talent. Following the release of her new series, Keys shared a picture of herself and her mother on Instagram.

This is not the first time the singer is opening up about her dad's absence in her life. In May 2020, she shared an intimate letter she wrote to Cook, where she divorced him as her dad.

Keys wrote the letter when she was 14 and sad about the way her dad treated her as though she did not exist. His actions filled her with angst, so she wrote the letter.


She shared a video that showed her reading from the handwritten letter and revealed in the caption that it was her dad who gave her the letter many years after she had written it. Keys also said her words came from a place of vulnerability and longing.

Joseph's influence on her daughter's career is so huge, and Keys never loses sight of it. Besides raising her and helping her discover her talent, Keys also credits her mom with teaching her empathy amid her upbringing in New York.

Last year, the mother of two hosted a Nickelodeon special on racism. During the program, she revealed her mom was often mistaken for her manager or her babysitter at the beginning of her career. Keys also said her mom was quick to correct anyone who thought she was her employee.

Keys is passionate about racial issues. In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, she expressed her desire to ensure all the issues about race are addressed.

The singer remains a shining example to the youth and continues to do her best to bring the various world issues to light through her platform and music. Big kudos to her mom for bringing her up the right way despite the odds.

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