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Last month, Alicia Keys and her husband Kaseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean brought together some of the top Black artists in the world. They were there to help the couple introduce their exhibit “Giants: Art From the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys,” which continues through July 7 at the Brooklyn Museum.

Though the couple, married since 2010, is known to the music world as two of its preeminent hitmakers, they are also among the world’s biggest collectors of Black art. (Former NBA star Grant Hill and his wife Tamia own an impressive collection as well, but have not publicly shown it in several years.)

There are almost 100 pieces in the show including works from Kehinde Wiley, Mikalene Thomas, Arthur Jafa, Amy Sherald, Nick Cave, Gordon Parks and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Deans were placed on the list of ARTnews‘ top 200 collectors in 2019, an honor reserved for the top art collectors around the world. That put them in prime position to compete for art that was usually only reserved for the world’s top buyers.

“A lot of people used to make fun of me collecting art—I won’t say no names, but they’re the biggest names,” Dean told Vanity Fair. “We were so hardcore in music, I was a Ruff Ryder, everybody was more in their street element, and so collecting art….”

But the Deans have amassed a serious collection over time, some of which is in their Southern California home, dubbed the Iron Man house for its similarity to the one Tony Starks owns in the movie franchise. People may have been skeptical at first, but the Deans have now become the preferred buyers for artists who care about where their work goes.

Dean says that his inspiration for collecting art was seeing exhibitions at museums that were loaned courtesy of various people – none of whom were African American. “For those who don’t know that, collecting art is a drug,” Dean said. “It’s a serious drug. And once you get hooked on to the drug, just like any drug, it’s hard to get off.”

The couple now only collects living artists as he and Keys recognize that it can help change their careers. After he started posting the artists he was buying, the publicity it generated helped them sell more. He told Complex in 2016, “The Dean Collection started off as my personal collection that I was building for my kids. But what happened with the Dean Collection is I started only collecting art by living artists.

I stopped collecting artists that weren’t living and started only collecting living artists because I feel like you should support artists while they can use the support to support themselves. If an artist is not here and an estate’s taken over and you’re paying all this money, how does that give back to the world? So I felt like I wanted to give back to the world.”

Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys Showcase Art Collection At Brooklyn Museum  was originally published on