John Legend’s new music video for “Surefire” is an ode to the power of love in the face of xenophobia.
The video, directed by Cole Wiley, premiered on Monday via YouTube and tells the story of a young Muslim woman and a Mexican immigrant’s fight to be together. The couple faces prejudice, family disapproval and even deportation.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Wiley said that the characters ― named Roberto and Jamila ― and their story are a response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric and hatred that’s become more open in the United States this year.
“Human civilization is experiencing an extraordinary moment in time,” he told the magazine. “We are more capable of doing more good than ever before, but we are still mired by a myriad of systemic failures that continue to arise because of our continuing lack of empathy towards others.”
“That is why Jamila and Roberto, the star-crossed lovers featured in the ‘Surefire’ music video, face a number of obstacles that are heavily rooted in the current state of America,” he continued. “Fear of immigration, religious bigotry and many other forms of prejudice are contaminating our cultural landscape on a daily basis.”
In the video we see that one of the biggest obstacles for the two lovers is Jamila’s disapproving father, who eventually attempts to separate them by calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement and having Roberto deported back to Mexico.
Islamophobia is also an overarching theme in the video, which has a scene showing how Jamila is attacked on the street and has her hijab torn off her head.
The emotional scenes of how both Roberto and Jamila face adversity and ultimately triumph are paired with lyrics from the song that echo its themes: “Make this our kingdom, somewhere where good love conquers and not divides/ I may not know a lot of things, but I know that we’re surefire.”
Watch the “Surefire” music video and the lovers’ story play out above.
H/T We are mitú