Yesterday, John Legend released a tear-jerker of a music video (so, business as usual) for “You & I,” the fourth single off his 2013 album Love In the Future. The video celebrates the beauty of women of all ages, sizes, colors, and sexual orientations, as Legend croons in the background about shining stars and love and monogamy. He advises his female listeners—as only a male singer-songwriter can—that they don’t need to wear makeup because “you were fine in my eyes, a half hour ago.” Thanks, John! Also, the opening and closing images focus on his wife Chrissy Teigen, who is a Very Conventionally Beautiful Model, but then models deserve admiration and unconditional love as much as the rest of us, right, so WHO AM I TO JUDGE THIS CREATIVE DECISION? Just a sad, lonely, 5’1″ blogger.
Anyway! Skeptical caveats aside, it’s a really lovely video. We see short clips of a diverse group of women and girls—including Laverne Cox (lover of Jewish men) and Tig Notaro—scrutinizing themselves in the mirror as they remove make-up, put on jewelry, and prepare for important life events. One woman lifts her shirt to reveal the scars from her mastectomy, another shows off her pregnant belly. Girls brush their teeth, get braces, cry at school, make minute adjustments to their hair. A lesbian couple kiss. A bat mitzvah girl wearing a kippah and a tallit takes a selfie with her father and grandfather, proving once and for all that John Legend is indeed AN EGALITARIAN JEWISH FEMINIST.
Yeah, it’s a schmaltz-fest, but the message is affirming and sincere. He’s not trying to sell me moisturizer or soap. I may have watched it three times in a row. I may even have shed a tear. Four and a half feminist pitchforks!