So, Adele released “Hello,” her first single in three years, and it’s stunning. She’s back. That voice we know and love is just as fabulous as it always was, and her tale of love and loss is as relatable as ever. I had no idea her love interest in the video was a black man when I first listened to the song. I planned to post it on my Facebook page with one word – fabulous – because of the song, how she looked, the tiny gold earrings in her ears.
Then I saw this smiling brown face.
Not movie star handsome, or tall and cut and pretty like a model. This man was more ordinary, still attractive, but not exceptional, other wordly or fine with an o not an i. I think that’s important. You may ask, but S, you write interracial romance; of course you think it’s important. And you’re right. It is important that we see certain things in the media, in pop culture, in the zeitgeist, so that we know they’re okay. That there’s no harm in them. Nothing really different or scary or unapproachable.
But I write about beautiful men. Tall, rich, well traveled masters of the universe because, let’s face it, who wants to read about someone ugly, broke and boring? I certainly don’t, so I won’t write that book.
This man, however. Yes, he’s an actor in real life – Tristan Wilds, a la 90210 and HBO’s The Wire – but in “Hello,” he’s cute. He’s happy. He’s an ordinary man transformed into something extraordinary – or so the invisible narrative plays – by love. That’s important.
It’s important to see the value in a good old, ordinary brown face.