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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Let’s be honest — some great albums are a result of homewrecker allegations. Take Ariana Grande for example; “the boy is mine” is the bump-worthy redemption song we needed after whatever “yes, and?” was (not a redemption for her — just her song. She’s still a homewrecker). Sabrina Carpenter found her place in the entertainment scene nearly a decade ago, but what really catapulted her music career to the mainstream was her album emails i can’t send. Why? Homewrecker allegations. In parallel, Olivia Rodrigo also achieved immense commercial success with her debut album SOUR, which many speculated was the opposing point of view to this supposed beef with Sabrina. Aside from its popularity and multiple platinum certified songs, the album received professional praise for its lyricism and production. I also really enjoyed the album, but we must admit that some of the initial attention received was likely from those invested in the situation.

I feel that the experience of consuming media is amplified by the knowledge of its contexts. Let’s not forget the creation of an entirely new sub-genre of music: diss tracks. You won’t find them recognized on any official lists, but they predate even autotune, from Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya’s “O Christ Worshippers” mocking religious beliefs in 1350 to Megan Thee Stallion’s “HISS” that took a jab at Nicki Minaj in 2024. And what would music be without Eminem or Drake’s endless beef with seemingly everyone in the industry, gracing our playlists with Grammy-winning tracks? The public is nosy, after all. However, even with set contexts, music as an art form, as with all art, is open-ended by nature. Of course, there’s a possibility that all these allegations and speculations are completely false, but as I said, song is art, and art exists to tell us something. Hence, the power of interpretation and personal relevance gives art purpose and meaning. This principle isn’t exclusive to just homewrecking or even songs. Music, painting, literature, film – there is a reason why people resonate so deeply with them. Heartbreak, anger, and antagonism just happen to prevail as some of the most common themes communicated through art and media.

Now that we’ve established the hook, let’s get to my actual point: people are their most expressive through art. It serves as the medium in which all language, cultural, and geographic barriers can be transcended. Art is just as much an emotional outlet as it is a multifaceted means of freedom of expression, and it offers a level of prerogative and flexibility that other modes of communication may not. One of the most recognizable examples of this is Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night.” Obviously, the initial response is to the visual appeal and aesthetics; it’s a stunning and evocative piece. But perhaps you inspect further, and you notice the tumultuous brushstrokes and intentional shades and dramatic contrasts. Then, you come to understand the profound depth of the canvas and its role as the rendition of van Gogh’s emotional turmoil and inner struggles. Or maybe it’s just pretty. Interpretation has range; that’s the whole idea.

Might I even emphasize the artistry in choreography? Conveying emotion and narrative through movement is pretty sick. And don’t even get started on sculptors. Auguste Rodin wasn’t playing around when he went ham on a rock and somehow gave us “The Thinker,” an iconic symbol of introspection that cultivated a generation of self-proclaimed thinkers.

After music, my favorite art form might just be literature. I’ve yet to discover another piece of writing that so seamlessly integrated critical social commentary into fiction as Suzanne Collins’s novel series The Hunger Games or Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

Furthermore, to come full circle, I think the majority (people with taste) can agree that Kendrick Lamar’s rap game stands unmatched. In my humble but very correct opinion, his albums good kid, m.A.A.d city and DAMN. are truly ones for the history books. Bar for bar he delivers expert storytelling through a niche sound that he imparts with an especially characteristic involvement in production. I reserve the same thoughts on J. Cole and SZA.

Each medium of art offers its own unique opportunities for creative expression and communication, scoping essentially the entirety of human existence. Whether it be identity, emotions, intellect, or sense of wonder, art has the distinct ability to invoke the human spirit and forge connections between individuals, groups, and the broader world.

Najifah Amin is a second-year biology major at VCU who is pursuing a career in dentistry. She is currently on the editorial team of Her Campus. Before that, she is a job hopper whose range stretches from Kumon instructor to ice cream scooper to now pharmacy technician. Her interests include cooking, pop culture, build-a-bears, skincare, and women's topics.