Alicia Keys Says Mentorship Is 'Incredibly Important' as She Hosts Culinary Event Spotlighting Innovators (Exclusive)

Alicia Keys knows what it means to have a seat at “The Table” and is doing her part to help others achieve their dreams

Published Time: 30.06.2024 - 02:31:17 Modified Time: 30.06.2024 - 02:31:17

Alicia Keys knows what it means to have a seat at “The Table” and is doing her part to help others achieve their dreams.

On Friday, June 28, the 16-time Grammy winner, 43, teamed up with Mercedes-Benz to host The Table, an experiential culinary event in Los Angeles. The evening was curated to highlight both rising stars and established talent and celebrate the unique perspectives and ideas that drive creativity and innovation.

The “Empire State of Mind” singer was joined by her husband, Swizz Beatz, and other celebrity guests including Andra Day and Victoria Justice at Verse LA for a four-course meal prepared by Chef Oscar Torres.

During the dinner, attendees were introduced to Ayoni, a singer and songwriter mentored by Keys as part of her She Is the Music organization.

The “If I Ain’t Got You” songstress spoke exclusively to PEOPLE about the work she’s done with the Barbados-born talent.

“I am so proud of the work we do with She Is the Music. It has been such a wonderful experience to watch Ayoni grow into the artist she is today. She’s completely brilliant,” Keys told PEOPLE.  

Keys — who joined Usher onstage earlier this year for the 2024 Super Bowl halftime performance — also opened up about what it means to her to help artists develop their talents and grow.

“I think mentorship is incredibly important, which is one of the key themes of The Table. Having someone who can give you advice and provide a different perspective can go a really long way,” she added.

As Ayoni sang a mix of new and unreleased songs, attendees dined — beginning with live Santa Barbara uni, followed by chicken pepi -

án tetela. Torres’ staff brought out lamb T-bone for the third course and cardamon flan for dessert for an “Angeleno cuisine,'' inspired by Torres’ Hispanic roots.

Just a short walk from Verse LA is Larrabee Studios, where a mixer was held ahead of the dinner. Manny Marroquin, 18-time Grammy-winning mixer and owner of both venues, has also worked with Keys on many of her music projects. 

Larrabee Studios is also where Keys recorded her 2012 hit single “Girl on Fire.”

The singer shares two children with Beatz — Egypt Daoud and Genesis Ali, along with Beatz's three children from previous relationships, Prince Nasir, Kasseem Jr. and Nicole.

At Friday's event, Keys — who, in addition to mentoring, recently launched her own Broadway musical, titled Hell's Kitchen — shared how she picks the perfect ride for her blended family.

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“Picking my favorite rides from Mercedes-Benz is difficult when there are so many amazing models to choose from,” she told PEOPLE, adding that the all-electric Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV and the Mercedes-AMG G 63 are her current favorites. 

“My kids love the futuristic technology, especially the pillar-to-pillar MBUX Hyperscreen, and everyone also loves the front and rear seat massage functions,” she said of the Maybach, which she described as the “pinnacle of luxury.”

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