Alicia Keys launches $1 billion fund to 'empower Black America'

"We can end the needless and preventable agony created by systemic racism."

Alicia Keys has launched a $1 billion endowment fund to support Black businesses and help communities affected by the global coronavirus pandemic and recent protests.

In a letter, obtained by Billboard, Keys explained the fund's "clear goal to empower Black America."

"I am personally committed to creating meaningful conversations to hold corporations and institutions accountable for their contributions to racial justice," she told the outlet. "Through our collective action, we can end the needless and preventable agony created by systemic racism. We are pushing for an aggressive agenda to meet the urgent need of proper access, opportunity and inclusion."

Keys, 39, said she hopes to create long-term opportunities for Black schools, communities, entrepreneurs, businesses, banks and "other Black institutions, while addressing persistent social, economic and environmental disparities."

This grand announcement comes just hours before the singer's performance at the NFL's kickoff event Thursday night. The league will be contributing to Keys' fund.

"My initial reaction was to decline because of some of the NFL's past decisions. Yet I realized I HAVE to use my platform, we all need to use our platforms, every chance we get to press for racial equity," she wrote in her letter. "The NFL has already committed to ensuring Black representation across-the-board, from employees to executives, contractors, suppliers and vendors."