Alicia Keys and JAY-Z Reunite at 2024 Tony Awards for 'Empire State of Mind' Performance

Alicia Keys and JAY-Z were certainly in the "Empire State of Mind" as the duo hit the stage at Sunday's 2024 Tony Awards to perform their hit collaboration for the first time in more than five years.

The 43-year-old singer and 54-year-old rapper showed pride in their hometown during the broadcast as they moved audience members inside the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center to get out of their seats and dance around to their 2009 single, which turns 15 in October.

According to Billboard, the last on-stage reunion for the New York natives to sing their chart-topping NYC anthem was back in 2016 when Keys hosted a Here in Times Square special that aired on BET.

During the musical presentation performance for Hell's Kitchen, the jukebox musical written by Keys, the singer came out on stage on a piano to sing with Maleah Joi Moon, the actress who plays Keys' semi-autobiographical role of Ali, before joining Jay Z.

Alicia Keys, Maleah Joi Moon at the 2024 Tony Awards

Alicia Keys and Maleah Joi Moon at the 2024 Tony Awards

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

"Are we in New York City tonight? Are we at the Tony Awards?" Keys said into the microphone. "I had to do something crazy, it's my hometown," she screamed as JAY-Z showed up on a screen behind the stage, performing outside the venue.

The two eventually met up outside the theater and sang together as the crowd burst into applause. The cameras even briefly flashed to Nicole Scherzinger, whose jaw dropped at the sight of the "Public Service Announcement" singer.

Keys is originally from Hell's Kitchen -- a neighborhood located on the west side of midtown Manhattan -- while the "Run This Town" rapper hails from Brooklyn. From their performance, it's clear the audience and those on stage could feel the hometown energy as the moment was one of the biggest of the night.

"Empire State of Mind," which the pair have previously called a love letter to the Big Apple, has sold more than 9 million units since it released in October 2009, going quadruple platinum as of June 2023.

In the decade and a half since its release, the song has since become synonymous with New Yorkers and the city as a whole, with the tune even being named by one outlet as the second best song about NYC, only falling to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and beating out Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" by several spots.

For more from the 2024 Tony Awards, check out the links below.

The 2024 Tony Awards, which will be hosted by Ariana DeBose, is airing live from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 16, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount+. Check out the complete winners list here.


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