Plenty of artists use their work to speak on very important issues going on in the world around us, and according to video director Xavier Dolan, Adele is one of those people.
In a new interview with Vulture, the director talked about the work he’s done over the last year or two, including helping to bring Adele’s beloved video for “Hello” to life. According to him, the black and white video sent a very strong message. But it wasn’t the look of it, but rather, who was in it that did so. Dolan claims that after feeling shaken by all of the incidents of police brutality that were taking place last year, the singer wanted to make a statement. She did that by casting actor Tristan Wilds as her love interest.
I know, it doesn’t make sense to us either.
Dolan’s conversation about the video with Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan went like this:
Did you cast Tristan Wilds as her love interest?
I did, yes. I suggested him to her and she agreed.
Well, I like him and love what he did on The Wire …
Well, what is your question?
What is your answer? Because I can tell there’s more to what you said.
It was her desire that we wouldn’t cast a Caucasian male in this, which I thought was great. She called me and said, “This is what I think we should do,” and if my memory serves me right … I’m going to be honest, it’s tragic not to be able to remember what exact conflict was on the news at that moment, because there are so many incidents of police brutality. She called me right after one of those incidents of police brutality, and I wish I could remember the name. I wish it wouldn’t be as hard to remember because there wouldn’t be so many different instances of those incidents. They’re disgusting.
So Adele suggested this to you?
She said it in such a natural way. It was not opportunistic, she didn’t want to be hip or anything. She was just like, “I’m concerned with the reality of the tensions between authorities and the black community, and I want to send a message out there.” I thought it was beautiful. I wish that it was my idea, but it wasn’t.
But if you ask Wilds, all he was told was that the video was about getting a range of emotions across to the viewer.
“A lot of stuff that we did it was Xavier’s brainchild, so a lot of what we did was very much so improvisation,” Wilds told Entertainment Weekly last year. “He kind of asked both of us to tap into our own past relationships and feelings and situations that would lead to the emotion coming across the way that it needed to.”
At the time that the video premiered last October, I did find it interesting that she picked Wilds of all people to play opposite her. Still, I didn’t think too much of it. He is handsome. However, now that the director is claiming he was cast to send a message about the injustice of police brutality, I’m more confused than ever. When did he do that in the video? Having a Black love interest instead of a White one doesn’t really address much of anything.
While I appreciate her alleged sentiments, casting a Black man as your past love interest in a video isn’t necessarily groundbreaking when it comes to using art to address social issues. It’s something people see all of the time in everday life and vaguely addresses a serious concern — especially when Adele and Wilds didn’t appear in a real frame together and barely touched one another (with the exception of her rubbing his face in a scene). For a video that has more than a billion views now, a real opportunity was missed. Or maybe we just missed something.
Check out the video for yourself and let us know if you saw the message she was trying to send in a confusing, but otherwise beautiful visual:
Images via WENN and YouTube