Adele purposely chose African-American actor Tristan Wilds for her Hello video to "send a message" about the spread of police brutality in the U.S., according to director Xavier Dolan.
The British soul singer made her music comeback with the release of the emotional promo last year (Oct15), in which former The Wire and 90210 star Tristan portrays her ex-lover.
Filmmaker Xavier reveals there was a deeper reason for Tristan's casting as they prepared to shoot the footage just after another African-American had died at the hands of authorities.
"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...'"
Xavier confesses he cannot remember which tragedy prompted Adele to make the call, but she wanted to use her video to make a subtle statement about the ongoing racial tensions between law enforcement officers and the black community.
"She called me right after one of those incidents of police brutality, and I wish I could remember the name (of the victim)...," he continued. "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."
It's not clear exactly what message Adele wanted to convey, as Tristan simply acts out scenes during happier times in their fictional relationship, before expressing his anger as the couple fights and eventually parts ways in the popular video, which, with 1.2 billion hits, has been named the second most-viewed promo on Vevo in 2016, behind Justin Bieber's Sorry.
Adele has never spoken of the hidden message about police brutality and has yet to comment about Xavier's revelation.
His interview emerges two days after Hello scored the Brit nominations for Record and Song of the Year at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Her work on the album 25, on which Hello features, landed Adele a total of five nods, including Album of the Year.