Why I No Longer Support Ariana Grande

I have written a couple of articles in the past about Ariana Grande, showing my support and love for her. The first one was of her song, No Tears Left to Cry, and the second one included her in my favorite Coachella looks (because I was biased). I have loved Ariana Grande ever since she appeared on Nickelodeon’s Victorious. Seriously, out of all of my roommates, I was the biggest fan (and we’re all really big fans). But sadly, after recent events, here’s why I’m not anymore.

Image Courtesy of Candy 95

Don’t get me wrong, I still think she’s a good person. She has stood up for many groups of people, including the LGBT community. She is a feminist and wants equality for all. When her song, 7 Rings, came out, I was all for it. I wanted to be her at that moment, drowning in all that money.

I didn’t really notice the Japanese culture being intertwined into the video, but that was my own fault. I thought it was gracious of her to apologize to the people who were offended. When Grande posted her new tattoo, I was pretty annoyed. It just seemed like one of those situations where an ignorant girl or boy (or neither) gets a tattoo in Arabic that they think it means “appreciate life” when it really means “I am rotten.” However, I was like okay, as long as she apologizes. I’m very aware Ariana has tried learning Japanese and appreciates the culture. I’m not bashing her too much for the initial mistake, trust me.

Image Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Ariana Grande never apologized about the tattoo itself, she only apologized about the music video (which I still believe was good of her). Her reaction to the initial criticisms seemed questionable: “It hurt like f*ck n still looks tight. I wouldn’t have lasted one more symbol lmao. But this spot also peels a ton and won’t last so if I miss it enough I’ll suffer thru the whole thing next time.” The fact that she said it still looked “tight” was so frustrating because a language may look pretty but using it for the aesthetics isn’t cool. I wrote an article in the past about a girl who went to her senior prom in a traditional Chinese dress, without understanding the significance and importance of the dress itself. She just thought it was beautiful. It’s the same situation here. Sure, Ariana Grande has been interested in Japanese culture for a long time, but the fact that she wouldn’t apologize for the mistake and blew it off as looking “tight” is a poor reaction to her criticisms.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt when I heard she was trying to fix her mistake. Her conversation with her tutor looked sincere and I appreciated that. However, it was frustrating when she decided to do the opposite thing and get the new symbol below the old tattoo instead of above. Because of that, it made the meaning even worse than “BBQ grill.”

Image Courtesy of Twitter

Because of the new mistake, she got even more criticism (which sucks because that can cause a ton of stress). I kept trying to hang in there but her new responses (which she has deleted) were iffy to me.

Image Courtesy of Buzzfeed

So, this first one, I wasn’t mad at. She wanted to fix her mistake and genuinely tried to fix it. I don’t doubt the tattoo was done out of love and appreciation, but if she had just taken the time to figure out the right phrase, it would have been fine and I, for one, wouldn’t be writing this article in the first place.

Image Courtesy of Buzzfeed

So, with this tweet, saying how all her Japanese fans were excited to see her write the language and wear it on their clothing is all cool and dandy, but it doesn’t negate the fact she’s dismissing her tattoo as something that isn’t problematic to a lot of her audience.

Image Courtesy of Buzzfeed

This final deleted tweet is the one that caused me to no longer support her. She was victimizing herself, using her anxiety (which is very real, and I feel for her) to possibly manipulate people into thinking she’s an innocent victim, subjected to bullying. Yes, mental illness is so incredibly heartbreaking and tough; I, too, understand know how tough it is to be in a battle with yourself. Yes, I don’t doubt she’s being bullied because that kind of stuff is so hard to get through and can be damaging. However, her victimizing herself with her crippling anxiety doesn’t mean people should ignore what happened. Using the mental health card, to me, isn’t cool in this situation because she’s not a victim when it comes to the tattoo mistake itself.

I’m not going to cancel Ariana Grande completely. I don’t think this situation is worth that amount of backlash, but I’ve unfollowed her on social media, so I won’t be keeping up with her as religiously as I used to.

All in all, I think if you’re going to get a phrase tattoo, maybe make sure it’s a language you fully understand. Cultural appropriation is a really important topic to me because as an Asian American, I would have classmates back in high school spit mooncakes out in front of me and ask me how I could eat something so disgusting, but at the same time, want to get East Asian phrases (Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) as tattoos. I understand this is just my opinion and stance and I can see why people still support her; she advocates endlessly for equality and I’ll always appreciate that. I’m not going to be an Arianator stan anymore, but I’m not going to hate her.