Ariana Grande caused controversy once again this week after releasing the video for her new single “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
The tantalizing video featured Grande pining after Riverdale’s Charles Melton, however, the artist’s creative choices in the twist ending left many fans confused and outraged. With the girlfriend, played by model Ariel Yasmine, becoming increasingly similar in appearance to Grande, the video ended with an insinuated kiss between the two, leaving fans unsettled.
Some have equated this representation of bisexuality to the overplayed and offensive “hot lesbian” trope, while others defined it as queerbaiting. Whereas other sources, such as Billboard, liken her to the “Gay Icon of Her Generation,” citing her “love for her brother,” who is openly gay, “Céline Dion impression,” and “Diana Ross sample” as a few reasons for this role.
However, it seems the term “Icon” is being used in replacement of “ally” here, as there are many gay icons that are, um, actually, gay.
The music video left many fans disgruntled, taking to the internet to ponder Grande’s sexuality, questioning if the video was her way of coming out publicly as gay. While there is no definitive way to know, as Grande has not commented on the matter, Grande has never publicly had a relationship with a woman. Perhaps most demoralizing of all, Grande’s video fetishizes gay sexuality, without building a meaningful narrative to support the relationship between the two women.
The narrative of Grande’s video is confused and disheartening for LGBTQIA+ fans, who seek to see themselves and their stories represented in the media, not for their sexuality to be used as shock value to inspire more viewership.
Although Grande has been accused of pulling publicity stunts to bring attention to her music, i.e. the entirety of the trainwreck of a relationship that was Pariana (Pete and Ariana), Grande may have gone too far this time.