Video Review: Alicia Keys “You Don’t Know My Name”

Alicia Keys rushes to the door of the Pan Pan restaurant  and takes off her jacket. A thirtysomething woman flips through the songs on the jukebox. She chooses a song and puts a quarter in it. Keys scrambles in her pockets of her apron as a her co-worker tells her, “your boy just walked in.” Michael Harris (Mos Def), holding a newspaper under his arm, sits at the counter. Keys hands him a menu. He points to the chalkboard and says, “Just give me the special.” As she walks away, he says, “I’m sorry. A hot chocolate, too.” She confirms it and holds the menu to her face.

She stands by the kitchen and stares at him as he reads the newspaper. He puts his newspaper to the side as she gives him his lunch. At the cash register, he drops his business card in the bowl. The steel door goes down as the diner closes for the night.

Lit in emerald, Keys and a twentysomething woman walk up the stairs to an apartment. She stands by the stereo and holds her drink while people talk and dance. Michael stares at her as he stands near her. Keys stands on the stairs. Lit in scarlet red, he pushes through the crowd. A china cabinet falls on the floor. Keys and the twentysomething woman leave the party. She walks on the sidewalk and pounds on the charcoal door of a store. Inside the store, she walks to a piano and plays it.

Back at the restaurant, she takes out his business card. Leaning against the wall of the piano store, she calls him on her phone. They talk and agree to a date. In her apartment, they hold one another as they stand by the wall. He touches her shoulder and kisses her.

Michael sits down at a table. Keys’ boss tells her “you were late again.” She apologizes to him and walks over to Michael. Handing him the menu, she tells him, “Good afternoon. May I take your order?” He looks over the menu and says, “I think I’ll have the uhhh…” Keys says, “The special, right? And a hot chocolate.” He tucks in the collar of his jacket as he stands on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. She places her hand on the window as she watches him walk.

Rating: 5/5

Alicia Keys takes a thirtysomething woman’s order and glances at the window. It was after 1:00 p.m. Michael hadn’t come in yet. It was the third time. As she fills up a glass with soda, she asks her co-worker if she’d seen Michael. Her co-worker puts the ladle in the pot and shakes her head. Keys says she hopes he didn’t get fired. Her co-worker tells her he may come back.

Keys highlights a paragraph in her textbook. Her phone vibrates. It was the twentysomething woman. The twentysomething woman asks her if she knows of someone named “Michael.” Keys says a few people. The twentysomething woman says, “Michael from Pan Pan mentioned you. He sees he saw you at the party but didn’t get a chance to talk.” Keys closes her textbook and says she knows him. The twentysomething woman says he’s invited them to a party at his house. Keys smiles and says she’ll go. The twentysomething woman says she’ll be around 7 pm.

Keys brushes her hair off her ear and asks the twentysomething woman if she looks all right. The twentysomething woman tells her not to be so nervous and he’ll be stunned. Michael opens the door and stares at Keys. The twentysomething woman watches them stare at one another. She says “hello.” Michael glances at the twentysomething and says “hello” and tells them to come inside. Michael says it’s good to see her. Keys blushes.

Directors: Chris Robinson & Andrew Young Year: 2003


Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her poetry has been published in the White Wall Review and 45 Magazine.