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Alicia Keys takes on bullying with app

Cyril Josh Barker | 2/20/2014, 10:52 a.m.
Alicia Keys takes on bullying with app Photo by Bill Moore

Grammy Award-winning artist, singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and humanitarian Alicia Keys took center stage at the 111th American International Toy Fair, which kicked off this Sunday. Keys cut the ribbon, opening the trade event that brings together industry leaders, toy companies and buyers to learn more about the latest toys soon to be on shelves.

Keys also introduce the new interactive storytelling app “Mookey,” the latest extension of her children’s property “The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee.” Keys co-created the app along with Jessica Walton and teamed up with Bento Box Interactive to develop a series of storytelling app experiences for tablet and mobile devices for the “The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee” franchise.

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Alicia Keys

The apps engage children 4 and up with an interactive journey through stories, journaling, games and original music scored by Keys, all of which instill important values for the target audience. Mama Mae, voiced by Della Reese, is a grandmother who guides her granddaughter LeeLee through each illustrated story.

“The story was created by inspiration from the relationship between me and my grandmother,” Keys told the AmNews. “It allows you to enter this world, which is LeeLee’s room, and you are able to come to terms with what LeeLee’s going through. It takes real life, everyday scenarios that kids are going through and contextualizes them so that they understand this happens to everybody.”

“Mookey” is the newest installment in the “Mama Mae” series, touching on self-acceptance and bullying in a meaningful way. In the story, children are introduced to Bali, an imaginative boy, his not-so-imaginary-friend Mookey and his cousin Ankita. As they follow along, children will learn about courage, acceptance and forgiveness in the face of bullying. The app has the ability to facilitate conversation on the issue among families, children, and teachers.

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Alicia Keys discussing her app at the 111th American International Toy Fair

Thought-provoking and empowering, “Mookey” is a tool that uses creative play to help youth positively express themselves through a range of interactive activities. Said Keys, “The reason why it’s an interactive app is because it’s not just a story; it’s like a movie. There are games, and you can touch Mookey or Bali or LeeLee and they do things. There is also a piano in LeeLee’s room, and you can create on it. There’s a journal you can write in, so it becomes a whole interactive experience.”

Set in the jungles of India, “Mookey” features an alluring soundscape, magical sets and a story that appeals to both girls and boys. The digital app will excite, entertain and educate youth of all ages! “Mookey” also features a new song written especially for the story by Keys and performed by Arealyah Paul, titled “I Wanna Dream.”

“Alicia Keys: Mookey” is available in the Apple App Store as a free-to-play download for iOS devices. The full version can be downloaded for the special launch price of $1.99 via an in-app purchase.

“I want kids to know that in this world, they will find the answers they are looking for,” said Keys. “And that they will have an amazingly, really fun time doing it.”