John Legend’s New Video Celebrates All Kinds of Female Beauty, Might Make You Cry

Slate's Culture Blog
July 10 2014 3:47 PM

John Legend’s New Video Celebrates All Kinds of Female Beauty, Might Make You Cry

you and i
Legend's new video might give you the feels.

Still from Vevo

Following the success of “All of Me,” John Legend reiterates his love of “imperfections” in his latest video, for “You & I (Nobody in the World),” a song off last August’s Love In the Future.* This time around he tugs even harder at the heartstrings, adding to the long-running trend of music videos that celebrate diverse forms of female beauty.

It’s a full four minutes of women and girls staring at their own reflections, obsessing over self-assessed flaws. Legend's accompanying lyrics reassure them that they “don’t have to try.” And the video celebrates a genuinely diverse collection of female bodies: a pregnant woman and a woman bald from chemotherapy; a young girl with Down’s Syndrome and a boxer with a bloodied nose. Among the most moving of the images is a woman who sobs at the disfiguration left by a mastectomy. While there are a couple of familiar faces—including Tig Notaro, Laverne Cox, and Legend’s model wife, Chrissy Teigen—most of the women are mere non-celebrity mortals.

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Of course, a song in which a man tells women they’re beautiful doesn’t have quite the same empowering oomph as one coming from TLC, Pink, or Christina Aguilera; girl power can get a little complicated when it’s being peddled by a guy. But I’d be lying if I said my eyes stayed dry.

*Correction, July 10, 2014: This post originally misstated that John Legend's most recent album is called Love Is In the Future. It is called Love In the Future.

Eliza Berman is an intern in the culture department at Slate.

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