If you watched season 7 of American Idol, you might remember a contestant named David Hernandez. Although he didn't win the season, he left us with some pretty memorable performances. Now he's giving us one more with his new single "Beautiful," which sends a universal message of love and acceptance at a crucial time.
In the song, Hernandez repeats the line "I think you're beautiful." But this is more than just a romantic endearment. As the music video highlights, the song is also about self-love and embracing what makes us different.
The video, shot against a simple white background, cuts between Hernandez and various other people — some couples, some single — who are all "beautiful" in their own way. Some of them remove their clothes. Others dance along to the music. Couples kiss and embrace. A man uses sign language to convey the lyrics.
It's a positive celebration of diversity and the love that connects us all.
Hernandez recently told Billboard about his vision for the video:
I wanted to stay away from what people would normally expect, which was a traditional boy-meets-girl love story. I dug a little deeper and focused on what was going on in society today with all of the hate and shaming that we all face. I decided to cast different body types, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs and ages in my video. I wanted to show how our differences make us beautiful and that we need to embrace that.
The song and video also serve as a reminder to Hernandez himself, who says the song came to him "at a really pivotal time." He shared his personal struggle with self-acceptance in an interview with Out magazine.
Hernandez grew up in a household that discouraged him from the performing arts, which was considered too feminine. Once he gained the confidence to pursue his musical passion and share his talent with the world, he faced media scrutiny over his past as a stripper.
With this song, Hernandez is casting aside past negativity and embracing who he is. That includes being open about his sexuality.
"If you're missing a leg, you're still beautiful. If you're overweight, you're still beautiful. If you are 75 years old, you're still beautiful," he told Out. "That's why I wanted to share my own story as a gay man."
For Hernandez, the message is simple: "This is who I am, take it or leave it."