Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” Is A Love Song Not A Diss Track

Ariana Grande graced us with another bop this past weekend, and I couldn’t be more in love with the song. She names all her former loves and her feelings about them with a big giant “Thank you, but I’m finally moving on”.

It’s a beautiful message to be able to let go of past hurt and finally be at peace. However, I’ve been seeing a lot of folks (who love the song, undoubtedly) describe it as a diss track and something extremely petty.

“Thank U, Next” is a love song to herself. She is able to forgive herself, acknowledge her worth and move on from pain and anger she harbored toward any of her exes.

One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So look what I got
Look what you taught me

After Ariana and former fiancée, Pete Davidson, ended their brief engagement, a vicious rumor spread that Pete sent naked photos of Ariana to the late Mac Miller. Fortunately, the rumor was immediately squashed, and both Pete and Ariana have wished the other well.

However, people’s response to the rumor and how quickly the rumor was able to spread raise interesting questions about what we think  a break up really means.

Breaking up doesn’t have to be a big explosion where you yell and scream and fight. Although, it’s depicted often in film, TV, and social media as a giant theatrical production, break ups can be healthy and civil. There doesn’t even have to be a single defining moment to give you a reason to end your relationship with someone. Breaking up can be something as simple as this relationship is no longer serving either one of us so I think it’s best to part ways.

Thank you, Ariana, for imparting your wisdom and growth on your fans. And teaching us that you can always just walk away and move on.

 

You don’t have to sacrifice your own well being for him

I was inspired to write this because of Ariana Grande’s incredibly uncomfortable and inappropriate encounter with a man of the religious cloth.

Bishop Charles H. Ellis had no business putting his hands on Ariana. He was fully aware of what he was doing and fully aware of how it made her feel. The whole nation can see it. It’s clear as day.

Yet, he purposefully chose to ignore this feeling for his own benefit. And although I can’t speak for Ariana, I can only assume that she felt like she had to stand there and take it. Maybe because she didn’t want to disrupt the funeral of one of her role models, maybe because he was a bishop, or maybe because she was afraid of how others would perceive the situation.

As women, we have been conditioned to sacrifice our own comfortability for others because we’re told not to rock the boat. We’re told “that’s not something he would ever do.”

“He didn’t meant to do that.”

During my junior year of college, I dated a guy who invited me to spend the weekend at his place. I went in with the understanding that we were going to have sex, which at the time excited me. The first night I said yes. It was an enthusiastic yes, but the second night I felt off. I was uncomfortable, and I said no. I said no about a dozen times.

I expressed it in my body language, and I expressed it physically, but he did what he wanted anyways. And when he was finished, he said, “See what happens when you make me wait.”

I felt terrible after it happened, and I really couldn’t figure out why. I tried so hard to make it right because I had convinced myself that I had done something wrong. I said yes the night before. He was a nice guy. People respected him. There was no possible way that he could have done something so volatile to me.

It must’ve been me. It had to be me.

And like Ariana, I just took it.

It took me a great deal of time to realize that what happened that weekend was more than a bad moment in a bad relationship. Anytime I would share the story, I would tell it as an I-dated-a-fuckboy story and not as an I-was-sexually-assaulted story because I was protecting his reputation. I didn’t want to accuse him of something because of the kind of person he projected himself to be.

It wasn’t until I told the story to one of my male friends during my senior year, that I felt differently about what happened.

My friend told me, “I hope you know that wasn’t consensual.”

Hearing the word “consent” shifted something in my head and all the pain that I had felt was suddenly explainable. I sacrificed my own comfort and well being to protect someone who did not deserve my protection because of who I thought he was.

And despite the difficulty in sharing this as a sexual assault story rather than my usual fuckboy story, I want to share a message that helps other women and girls.

Just because someone is a family friend, just because someone is a nice guy, just because someone is well respected, just because someone is a pastor, does not mean they have the right to violate your body.

No matter the time or place, you do not have to sacrifice you’re well being and safety.

You do not have to be silent. You do not have to grin and bare it. You simply don’t have to.

What happened to Ariana is the core of rape culture. There’s a lot of folks who’ve said “it’s not that deep” or “you’re making a big deal out of nothing.” However, when men are continuously taught that women are theirs for the taking, and women are told they should just suck it up or ignore it because that’s how men are, it is a big deal.

Do not let anyone ever make you feel like you’re causing a fuss.