It is no secret that Ariana Grande is one of the most influential artists of this generation. Her music has reached millions and topped charts. She is the first solo artist since the Beatles to take the top 3 spots on Billboard 100. However, she is no stranger to controversy. Recently people have been calling her out on some of the issues with her songs and the messages they convey. Being at this level in the industry comes with a lot of responsibility, has Ariana forgotten that?
By Kennedy Woodard
Ariana is without a doubt an amazing singer with vocal cords made of actual gold, however, she seems to always be in the spotlight for saying something controversial or being involved in some kind of feud. Let’s start with the most recent hot water this tea queen has been brewed in. After Mac Miller’s death fans took to Ariana’s social media to attack and blame her for his death. I want to go ahead and say no one should be blamed for the death of another human being unless they murdered them. It is wrong and sick to think that Ariana could have caused this in anyway. However after the initial shock had died down and attention had been moved on from the pop singer, she’s back in the spotlight for tweeting at people and talking about Mac Miller, posting photos of them together on social media. This is a little strange to me because usually when grieving it is a private thing, but in this day and age social media is being used to exploit personal matters so I can’t entirely be upset with Ariana for this. Our own society perpetuates a culture that glorifies depression and grief by publicly showing it online. After all of this I thought maybe she will take time for herself. And then the song hit.
“Thank u, next” was released and people lost their minds. The song references specific people in it, one of them being the late rapper Malcolm. At first I was singing this song at the top of my lungs on my way to class., but the more I listened, the more i couldn’t shake the feeling of uneasiness with the entire atmosphere of the song. The fact that it came out right after the whole Pete engagement gate and the passing of Mac made me feel as though this is all for publicity. It is marketing at its terrifyingly best. Take tragedy and a highly publicized relationship break up, put them together and you have the perfect platform to sell some records. Although I do respect and admire the message of loving yourself at the end of the song, I have a problem with the circumstances and climate that it came out of.
After that, it seemed like Ariana was just pumping out music. Now with a new single, “7 Rings” and a new album she is seemingly back on her grind. Once again, she has sparked controversy with her song “7 Rings”. I listened once and liked it. Then I listened to it again and I can’t get the fact that the beats are stolen. Not only are these beats not hers, the entire image she is suddenly embracing is stolen. The music video parades tropes of R&B, hip-hop aesthetic as well as using black women as props to further feed off of the culture she is appropriating. She is profiting from the same ideas and music that the black community and artists originated and were never given the same platform or publicity she is getting. Don’t get me wrong, she is not the only artist who has done this. It is a problem with the environment America has created throughout history, but it certainly does not need someone as influential as her perpetuating it.
Ariana Grande is not a bad person or a villain, but she is certainly not perfect and has some significant things to learn and grow from. The Grammy feud just furthered my growing disdain for the ‘me, me me!’ aura about her. It is one thing to have a problem with the Grammy’s wanting to market like how you market ( greedy and off-putting) but it is another to publicly air the drama on Instagram. Is Ariana Grande a great artists who is simply being persecuted for doing nothing, or are her catchy lyrics and rhythmic beats distracting us from the real message she is sending?