A fine bromance: KenTell of SB19

The word bromance is defined as “a close, nonsexual relationship between two men.” Some of its finest samples this side of Hollywood are Luis Manzano and Billy Crawford, Ogie Alcasid and Janno Gibbs, Wendell Ramos and Antonio Aquitania.

Nowadays, the most celebrated and shipped bromance is that of KenTell, the portmanteau of Ken Suson and Stell Ajero, who, along with Pablo Nase, Josh Cullen Santos and Justin de Dios, make up what’s been called in Indonesia as “the hottest boy band in Southeast Asia,” SB19.

Countless YouTube and TikTok videos, original and edited, chronicle and document the closeness of this dynamic duo, testifying to the force that is KenTell.

One can’t help but wonder: What does the tandem possess to get this kind of love and support? Their undeniable charisma, individually and collectively, is the first obvious answer. Ken, tall, brown and seemingly serious, complements Stell, fair-skinned and fun-loving in so many ways.

It helps that the two, like the other SB19 boys, are openly warm and tender toward each other, endlessly mirroring each other’s actions, holding hands or leaning into each other, never disconnected for long. When seated together, their thighs and shoulders gently touch. Even if they are seated apart, the eye-locking incidents are obvious.

Bear hugs are a natural thing for the duo. Stell (also one of the coaches on GMA’s The Voice Generations) indulges Ken’s piggy-back rides. A playful Stell has been shown acting to plant a kiss on Ken’s cheeks or biting his neck. The two, both terrific dancers, groove together spectacularly in viral TikTok videos. Stell is seemingly the only person allowed to touch Ken’s hair. When food is being served, Stell makes it a point for Ken to have the first bite.

In their many interviews, their emotional and brotherly connection becomes even more apparent. Their care and concern for each other, genuine and not some fan service, feels genuine and authentic.

Worthy of emulation

What hooks a shipper like us to KenTell is their open appreciation for their friendship, and the high level of emotional intelligence and masculine security their public displays of affection entail.

With Ken and Stell, we get to hope that men need not be so “rigid” and “inflexible” in demonstrating feelings and acts of physical closeness.

As they celebrate a friendship marked by openness and extraordinary closeness, Ken and Stell offer a fine bromance worthy of emulation.

Indeed, real men can and may show their feelings and affections, too. There is nothing “pink” about it, and it is high time for all of us to stop boxing men on how to behave, deal and relate with their male friends.

Let us put an end to dagger looks and wicked smiles when we become onlookers to a pair of men who are proud of their platonic love for each other.

Every 20th of the month is KenTell Day, and the number 3 seem to be dear to the two. The fandom for these talented performers sees no signs of abating, and more Stell and Ken ‘layag’ videos and photos are sure to come out.

Some may consider all this foolish and even juvenile, but the KenTell bromance brings a lot of joy to so many people who need inspiration and smiles — and why begrudge that?

Felip Jhon Suson and Stellvester Ajero, many thanks for making this crazy planet of ours more beautiful with your friendship — and the music of SB19, of course!