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Ariana Grande is A Role Model for Turning Pain into Hope

Social media has allowed us instantaneous access to celebrities in the public eye, which places more scrutiny on their actions than ever before. An article in The Conversation examines how celebrities influence a sense of identity in young people, which is greatly determined by the celebrity’s media portrayal. The article suggests that, contrary to popular belief,  this can actually be a good thing, because it gives young people the freedom to choose which celebrities they want to identify with and support.

As Ariana Grande rose to the public eye over the past few years, her media portrayal has been extremely polarized. Some outlets have portrayed her as a “diva” because of her strong opinions concerning her craft and her willingness to be a trailblazer for women in the music industry. Many outlets have focused greatly on her love life—who is she dating now? Is that one guy she was spotted out with her new boyfriend? Most importantly, can she confirm that she and a new fling are “official?”

More recently, though, Ariana’s media perception has shifted in a way that I believe truly gives value to her as an artist and creative individual. After the horrific terrorist attack on her Manchester concert last May, she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and orchestrated an entire tribute concert for this incident’s victims less than a week later. One can only imagine how difficult of a feat it was to mentally recover after such an event, but to put herself back in the public eye to restore hope and positivity back into the world is something that is absolutely heroic.

From that point, Ariana has done her part in being a role model for turning pain into hope. She is a figure that I believe has surpassed the role of “celebrity” to becoming an activist in speaking about her struggles with loss, heartbreak, and mental health to set a positive example for those who follow her. Throughout 2018, she has defied every negative portrayal of herself in the media with a commendable and diplomatic artistic response.

Her most recent album, “Sweetener,” was made with the purpose of bringing light to otherwise dark times. Her first single, “No Tears Left to Cry,” was a chart-topping anthem of relishing in a state of blissful positivity and looking ahead to the future with a hopeful outlook. In her song, “God is a Woman,” she shifted the scrutiny of her “diva-like,” strong opinions to a powerful message of female empowerment and sex-positivity.

Most recently, Ariana released the surprise single “thank u, next,” which completely snatched the power away from the media and placed it back into her hands. After name-dropping all of her ex-boyfriends within the first 30 seconds, she proceeds to thank them for teaching her about “love, patience, and pain,” and spins it into a message of self-love and growth. This song transcends way beyond the speculations surrounding Ariana’s dating life, and instead, creates a universal message of learning from people and events that may have not ended in the way we may expect them to. Ariana’s willingness to bare it all and write about personal details from her romantic life shows her dedication to being an honest, soul-bearing role model for her fans to embody.

Overall, Ariana Grande has helped shift the role of celebrities in the public eye from superficiality to depth. Through her music, she encourages her fans to not run from fear, but face it head on with love, which is a mantra that the world could greatly benefit from.

Photos courtesy of ET Online and YouTube.

Kelsey Baum

C of C '19

Kelsey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2019 with a Communication major and an Italian Studies minor. If you would like to further delve into the depths of her mind and see what she's up to now, check out her personal blog, RawReveries.com!
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