Demonstrating the persona of a dangerous woman in the music industry, Ariana Grande finally dropped the highly anticipated music video for her latest single “Thank U, Next.” Grande recently became Billboard Music’s Woman of the Year and dethroned Selena Gomez as the most streamed artist worldwide on Spotify after dropping her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 on Nov. 3.
After weeks of teasing hints and behind-the-scenes footage for the upcoming video on Instagram and Twitter, fans were quick to link Grande’s references to scenes from iconic 2000 rom-coms, such as “Mean Girls,” “Bring It On,” “13 Going on 30” and “Legally Blonde.”
The video reached over 6.5 million views in just three hours.
I have not been this excited for a music video to drop since I was in middle school, sitting on my couch at home waiting for MTV and TRL live to broadcast the hottest videos from my favorite artists. Grande’s genuine and consistent involvement with her fans online has earned her one of the largest fan bases in the music industry. She is loyal to her music and artistry time after time since her debut album, Yours Truly, in 2013.
“Music, pop music, stan culture is something that brings people together, introduces them to some of their best friends and makes them feel like they can be themselves,” wrote Grande in her recent YouTube docuseries, “Dangerous Woman Diaries”, which follows the unfortunate events of the Manchester bombing at the singer’s concert in 2017.
Grande’s positive influence in self-love and acceptance of others, regardless of one’s ethnicity or sexuality, has resonated throughout her personal and professional life. Grande demonstrates what she does best by adding a little bit of sweetener to some of the most popular scenes from all four classic movies.
In an effort to represent female empowerment and collaboration, Grande references the popular halftime cheerleading performance between the Rancho Carne Toros and East Compton Clovers in “Bring It On.” She incorporated new uniforms for both squads, featuring a new acronym in place of Toros, spelled TUN for Thank U, Next, and replacing Clovers with Lovers.
Grande also paid homage to one of the most iconic movies for young women, “Mean Girls.” Compared to most people who remain bitter from past breakups or friendships, Grande replaces the hatred inspired by Regina George’s Burn Book with gratitude for her exes for helping make her the confident woman she is today, leading her into another rom-com classic from the early 2000s.
Starring as everyone’s favorite blonde law student, Grande portrays Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde.” Grande exemplifies the successful woman she has turned out to be despite the low moments faced in recent years. When incorporating the last movie in her video, “13 Going on 30,” the artist reveals a deeper message in relation to her personal life.
Although the references to the 2004 film starring Jennifer Garner as a 13-year-old turned magazine editor are less apparent throughout the video, the attribution marks a bittersweet moment for Grande and her love life as she sings, “One day I’ll walk down the aisle, holding hands with my mama … Only wanna do it once, real bad, Gon’ make that shit last, God forbid something happens.”
After the unfortunate passing of Grande’s former ex-boyfriend Mac Miller in October, her cutoff engagement with SNL actor Pete Davidson came to no surprise and neither did incorporating the scene from the movie where Jenna watches the love of her life marry someone else. This part of the video symbolizes the missed opportunity at forever love Grande once had with the former rapper as it all ties back to her lyrics, “Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm, because he was an angel.”
Despite the critiques the artist has been receiving for supposedly “milking” Miller’s death with her hit song and sharing memories of the two on her social media, Grande continues to grieve the loss of her ex-boyfriend by using her sadness to set new records for herself and women in the music industry.
“Everything I feel is valid and safe. Everything i do is genuine and honest. There is no right or wrong during this period,” tweeted Grande following criticism from Twitter users on Nov. 24.
Grande shares in her documentary series that receiving validation in numbers for her records is the least of her worries when creating music. Above all the fame, her creativity sparks from the connection she has from her fans.
“The message I want to convey most with my fans is that everything’s gonna be alright,” she says in the final episode of the “Dangerous Woman Diaries.” “When someone’s coming for you, put love out because you create the life that you have.”