Last week, Ariana Grande came out with a video that was supposedly an empowering break-up pop anthem paying tribute to the greatest chick-flicks of our time, and most importantly, being universally relatable in its commentary on modern dating. On the surface, maybe it was. But beneath the movie references and YouTube star cameos, something sinister was lurking: an unmistakably anti-BU sentiment.
Let’s start with the obvious. The music video takes place in a white, upper-class high school, problematic in itself even though it’s parodying well known satirical teen comedy Mean Girls.
My question is: why couldn’t it take place in a white upper-class college—namely, BU? This is just the first of many instances in the video where Ariana blatantly disregards her many rich white fans at Boston University.
The next problematic instance in “Thank U, Next” is the Troye Sivan cameo where he says “I heard she’s a lesbian now and dating some chick called Aubrey. It’s fucking sick.”
This is in reference to a mistranslated song lyric that confused some Arianators, but the issue here is obvious, or at least it should be to anyone who thinks they’re “woke”: Troye Sivan is Australian-South African. Why couldn’t they have cast someone from Boston to play that role? This is just another case of BU students being left out of the narrative.
Finally, in a chilling scene where Ariana in a blonde wig lies on her bed filling out a burn book (it is unclear here whether she is portraying Regina or Cady in the Mean Girls story), she appears ultra tan. This is grounds for perhaps the most serious allegation against Grande: would someone living in Boston, or more importantly attending Boston University, ever be tan?
The answer is, absolutely not. It is winter here for most of the year. Ariana proves, yet again, that she does not care to include the voices and experiences of actual BU students in a song that claims to be relatable and empowering for everyone. Who is “everyone” by your standards, Ariana?