SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Alicia Keys was energetic when she performed for a loud and excited audience at a pre-Super Bowl party, but she also got serious at the top of her show.
Keys opened her performance Friday night at Levi’s The City Stage with words about Mario Woods, the 26-year-old who was shot and killed in December by five San Francisco officers shot after they say he refused commands to drop an 8-inch knife.
After acknowledging that she heard some of the protesters, Keys said: “I want to thank you for your commitment to make sure justice is done for Mario Woods.”
She added that “as the mother of two black sons, it breaks my heart to” to see young men gunned down.
Police were responding to a stabbing report when they encountered Woods. Several bystanders filmed the shooting, and their videos circulated online widely.
Keys told the audience that “black lives matter … we all, all colors, need to come together … we better get it right, because karma is a …”
The singer went on to play her song “Karma” and other hits throughout the night for the feverish crowd. She was a powerhouse on the piano, she worked the stage from left to right and sang hits like “Girl on Fire,” ”Empire State of Mind” and “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready).”
Keys was sensual when she sang “Fallin'” and “You Don’t Know My Name” from piano, full of breathy vocals matched with beaming red and purple lights from the stage.
One audience member even brought the Grammy-winning artist flowers.
“I need to get these flowers from my man,” Keys said as they were passed to her.
She called the night “special” and said “we are so powerful, we can change anything we want to change … we just have to be organized, smart and together.”