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Singer Keys into TV, film

Los Angeles, Jan. 13 (AP): After conquering the world of music, Alicia Keys is expanding into movie and television production.

Keys, 24, and her longtime manager, Jeff Robinson, yesterday said they have formed a company whose first project will be a UPN TV series inspired by Keys’s experience as a biracial youngster growing in New York.

“A lot of times I watch TV and I watch film and there’s so many things I’d love to talk about that I feel don’t get the opportunity to be shown,” Keys said. “Sometimes things become very stereotypical and one-sided, and I feel like it’s such a colourful world.”

Their company, New York-based Big Pita, Lil’ Pita, will provide “the opportunity to expose that array”, Keys said.

She’s also intent on developing projects that give women their due, she added.

“I was mostly raised by very strong women, and I consider myself one as well. So I’d like to see things explore that and see that strength shine through,” she said.

Keys, a singer, songwriter and musician, was born to a white mother and black father. Her parents split when she was two and was raised in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York by her mom, Terri Augello.

The new company’s eye-catching name has a special meaning for Keys and Robinson, who have worked together for more than a decade: “Pita stands for pain in the ass,” Keys said. “That’s what he and I both are ' so watch out.”

The two will serve as executive producers for their untitled TV drama, which may be on the air by next fall.

Keys is making her film acting debut in the upcoming Smokin’ Aces, which stars Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia.

Asked about movies their company will produce, Robinson and Keys declined to give details.

“I couldn’t give away all my secrets,” Keys said in her trademark husky tones.

But she said the films will be “the most thrilling” aspects of the company’s work.

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