Ever wonder why UK singer Adele has so much soul? Well, it might just have something to do with one of the most impactful teachers in her life being a Black woman named Ms. McDonald at the Chestnut Grove Academy.
This Sunday, during the star’s ITV concert special, “An Audience with Adele,” she was asked by Hollywood actress Emma Thompson about her past mentorship and people who inspired her growing up.
It didn’t take long for the “Hello” songbird to reflect on her beloved teacher at the South London high school. “I had a teacher at Chestnut Grove, who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald.”
She continued, “She got me really into English literature. Like, I’ve always been obsessed with English and obviously now I write lyrics.”
What was most endearing about her memories of this teacher was that the woman made her students feel seen. With a trembling voice, Adele said, “She really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us. She was so bloody cool. So engaging,” the multiplatinum artist shared, before talking about her fly #BlackGirlMagic that seemed to sparkle in sequins and gold — during class.
Then, with the trick of television magic, the camera flashed to a modest Black woman in the crowd.
Adele asked, “Is she here?”
As her former instructor walked down the aisle, Adele started to cry, and the crowd cheered. Ms. McDonald walked onto the stage and hugged her now celebrity student.
The mic caught Ms. McDonald, dressed in an all-black suit, whispering, “I’m so proud of you.”
Adele has been recognized by The Recording Academy, the Academy Awards, presidents, and monarchs from all over the world, but this one woman seems to have touched her a million times more profoundly.
Adele says, “I didn’t know you were coming.”
Ms. McDonald replied that it was supposed to be a surprise.
That it was.
The exchange could have lasted for hours. The teacher said to her student something that all teachers desire in one shape or form, “Thank you for remembering me.”
Then Adele uttered the words that every teacher wishes she or he could hear at least once in their lives, “No … you really did change my life.”
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