In an interview with Vulture, the French-Canadian film-maker said that while it was his idea to cast Wilds, Adele had specified that the love interest in the video should not be played by a white actor.
“It was her desire that we wouldn’t cast a caucasian male in this, which I thought was great,” he explained to Vulture. “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.”
Unsure which death she was responding to, he said: “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.”
Dolan went on to say that this casting decision “was not opportunistic”. He added: “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 it was my idea, but it wasn’t.”
The video for Hello has been viewed on YouTube more than a billion times since its release in 2015.
Last year, a Guardian study showed that young black American men were five times more likely than white men of the same age to be killed by police officers, with the final tally of deaths in 2015 at the hands of law enforcement officers reaching 1,146.
This article was written by Guardian music, for theguardian.com on Friday 9th December 2016 15.50 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010