The day after her Saudi Arabia concert, singer and actress Alicia Keys hosted Women to Women, a town-hall style dialogue event. It was presented by Good Intentions and took place at Madrasat Addeera, one of AlUla’s special all-girls schools, now a hub for creative arts and the revival of AlUla’s ancient handicrafts.
Co-hosted by the first female Saudi Ambassador to the US, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud who flew in especially, the conversation in two parts broached topics such as power, purpose, and progression. Attended by 60 women from many backgrounds and stages in life, the event delivered on its promise for honest sharing of visions, let-downs, successes and challenges.
Princess Reema said at the event: “Many of the women that you see, whether they are on the stage or perhaps seated to your right or left, are women of a generation that were born of women of a generation that were told ‘no’. Those of us that insisted on a ‘no’ being a ‘yes’ filled in the cracks”. Which apparently resonated with panelists, including Deem AlBassam, Manal AlDowayan, Sarah Al Rashed, Shahd Alshehail and Hala Dakheel as well as the attendees.
The event was lead by actor, writer and filmmaker, Fatima AlBanawi and presented by Good Intentions - which worked to bring both the concert and debate to fruition. Good Intentions is the global creative agency set up by Keys’ husband Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean and business partner, native Saudi Noor Taher.
The weekend of Alicia’s visit also coincided with the opening of Desert X AlUla, the site-responsive art exhibition in one of AlUla’s desert valleys. An artwork that Keys particularly admired was \Angle of Repose' from American artist Jim Denevan, who creates huge temporary land artworks across rural America.
Alicia also took a trip to AlUla Old Town, the 12th century stone and mudbrick labyrinth of buildings and climbed the steps to AlUla Castle within what overlooks the ancient site of Dadan and the 20km date palm oasis. The visit coincided with a community parade of horses in the main thoroughfare of Market Street and which included the world famous Polo players from the team La Dolfina - in town to play the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo.
On her final day Keys visited the Moringa Oil lab, where the native plant said to have miracle properties is pressed into oils for various uses, and lunched at one of Old Town’s restaurants.