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Let’s Get Real: Ariana Grande’s Funeral Dress Isn’t the Problem, Here’s Why

One day you release a hit single and the following weeks you have managed to capture the attention of a verbal firing squad. Ariana Grande may be an award-winning recording artist and pop icon, but for a lot of online vultures she has become the perfect feeding ground since the July release of her hit single “God is a Woman.” Unfortunately, Ariana’s attire at the legendary Aretha Franklin’s funeral (may she forever rest in peace) has garnered her more attention—albeit negative—than her performance itself. Here are three very important reasons why we shouldn’t focus on Ariana’s dress.

1. This Isn’t a Fashion Show, It’s a Funeral

Yes, there is a time and a place for certain outfits so it’s understandable that people are critical towards Ariana wearing a mini-dress to a funeral, but that is exactly why we should not focus on the outfit. IT’S A FUNERAL! To focus on the outfit of one attendee completely takes away from the event itself and is more disrespectful to the family and friends of the deceased than the dress that many claim to be “disrespectful” could ever be. On top of this, as Twitter user @ramorilla pointed out, Ariana is talented enough to have been “one of Aretha’s favorite younger gen vocalists.” The singer looked great, sang with a passion (as usual) and we think that Aretha would have been moved by her soulful rendition of “Natural Woman.”

2. Let’s Not Forget About Bill in the Back

Since we’re on the topic of distastefulness, let’s bring up Bill Clinton in the background. Throughout the entire length of Ariana’s performance, former president Clinton—among others—took extreme pleasure in watching Ariana perform. In fact, he took too much pleasure as seen by his ogling and blatantly looking her body up and down. It could be astonishment at the choice of dress or it could be Bill slipping up and sexualizing a younger singer at a televised event, but either way it’s inappropriate at best. Ariana is not an object to be eyed at in that manner no matter what she wears, as is any other woman, and for Bill’s actions to be less publicized than the dress itself is extremely disappointing.

3. Pastor Please Don’t Feel 

Reverend Jasper Williams Jr. was entrusted with the task of giving Aretha’s eulogy—as he had done in the past for other members of the Franklin family—but with this funeral the Reverend took it upon himself to do several questionable and downright sleazy things including giving an “offensive and distasteful” eulogy (as stated by the Franklin family), that not only did not speak about Aretha as a person but instead allowed him to push his own personal agenda and ideas. Williams first went wrong by referring to Ariana Grande as a Taco Bell menu item, completely taking away from the performance and herself as an individual. He then goes on to place his hand around Ariana’s side and gropes her right breast, to which she is seen visibly uncomfortable and startled by. The singer went to the lengths of stooping down and even leaning away but the Reverend Williams refused to let go of her and even attempted to play off the grab as a hug. A short dress is not an invitation and for Ariana to be openly sexually assaulted by the head of the church and not get support is unbelievable. Ariana deserves all the support she can get after this incident, not to be dragged for what she wore.

Aretha’s memorial service was fit for a queen, but one thing that can be taken away from this event is that a woman’s choice of clothing is not an invitation or an excuse for sexual assault.

Bre'Ana is an first-year student at the University of Georgia following a Pre-Medicine track. In her free time she enjoys listening to music (if you haven't listened to Rex Orange County you aren't living), binge-watching Netflix originals (highly recommends checking out "Anne with an E" 10/10 show), and attempting to cook.
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