This was Keys' second single, after "Fallin'." She released her first album on Clive Davis' record label after spending four years at Columbia Records without releasing anything.
Keys wrote this about self-esteem, and being worthy of the kindness of others. She explained that the sentiment can relate to a man or a woman.
The video was shot in Brooklyn, near where Keys grew up. It was directed by Chris Robinson, who also did her videos for "Fallin'," "Karma" and "You Don't Know My Name."
Keys sang this when she was the musical guest on the 2001 season premiere of Saturday Night Live.
A remix was released in February 2002 featuring the rapper Nas.
In the webchat for the Sun newspaper of March 18, 2002, Alicia Keys was asked what inspired her to write this song. Her reply: "I was actually in someone's house for Thanksgiving and I was watching TV. All these different commercials came on. There was this one commercial that said 'Because I'm Worth It.' And you know what - I AM worth it."