Ariana Grande is a blackfish and these are the receipts
She’s making a profit out of ‘racial ambiguity’
Ariana Grande is a talented singer who’s been through a lot. Not only was she caught in a terrorist attack at her own concert, she’s also had to deal with the tragic death of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller. She cares about world issues, she cares about her fans and she actually seems like a really nice human. Which is why it makes it even more difficult say this – Ariana Grande is a blackfish and her current identity is built on that.
Blackfishing is an act commonly perpetrated by white women to appear of African or Arab ancestry. Some people even consider it the modern equivalent of blackface or brownface, because it capitalises off the “exotic” looks of historically oppressed minorities.
Ariana has been looking darker and darker in her music videos like Breathin, Seven Rings and Thank U, Next. To the point where people are genuinely confused when they find out she’s actually white. Most fans think she’s mixed raced:
ariana grande is white?? i thought she was latina what the fuck KSHSKWH
— MERIKA ENTHUSIAST ?? (@yoonkitear) January 10, 2019
Her gradual transition from a white woman to woman of colour might have people fooled, but in reality, it makes her no different to the culturally appropriating Kardashians. Regardless of her intentions, she’s profiting from this racial ambiguity she’s created and yeah, this makes her a blackfish. If you don’t believe me, this is all the proof you need:
Firstly, she looked completely different at the beginning of her career
She’s had quite the style makeover, thanks to an unnaturally dark fake tan and fuller looking lips. Even the shape of her eyebrows is straighter and fuller.
ariana grande needs to stop trying look like a brown girl/latinx. she is a white girl who has their privileges and will never understand the struggles the skin colour comes with pic.twitter.com/S6DKUpgxH9
— mica (@taetrench) February 3, 2019
And now her fans can’t help but point out that she’s been looking “more and more bronzed” in her music videos.
Ok "thank u, next" video was cute…
but Ariana Grande is starting look more & more… bronzed… like, sis is really trying to give us Afro-latina and it's messy & creepy. Very minstrel-esque. pic.twitter.com/9IAJ4djsEW
— Selina Kyle (@thomeography) November 30, 2018
Her fake tan is so dark, she looks darker than Nicki Minaj who is actually black
At the MTV awards in 2016, the pair sang Side To Side. Ariana is literally a shade darker than Nicki Minaj.
This is uncomfortable because artists like Ariana emulate actual Black women for clout, but will wash all the fake tan off for a cover in Vogue. She’s picking and choosing random bits of other people’s cultures for financial gain, which is the epitome of white privilege.
Fans will defend her saying she just liked tanning and that she’s itALiaN. But it’s not just about the tanning, it’s about everything else she does along with the tanning.
When she’s on the cover of Vogue, she’s pale, blonde and has freckles
I guess when you’re a white woman, you can pick and choose your features as you wish.
— British Vogue (@BritishVogue) June 4, 2018
She’s adopted a “blaccent” to go with her new skin colour
People seem to think Ariana’s adopted a “blaccent”, because she has been using AAVE (African American Vernacular English) in the past few years. Listen to the difference in how she used to speak just a few years back and the way she annunciates her words now, it’s insane.
This must be the Blaccent everyone is talking about that Ariana grande has.? pic.twitter.com/FNDYeiZIHU
— John Gardner (@_JohnGardner) February 11, 2019
She openly made a joke about having a quinceañera when receiving an award even though she’s not Latina
In Latin America, a quinceañera is a tradition to celebrate a girl’s fifteenth birthday to mark their coming of age. Ariana accepted the Woman of the Year award from Billboard and made a joke about the audience coming to her quinceañera, which fully shows she’s aware of her aesthetic as a “Latina.”
Ariana Grande joking about her “quinceañera” and people loving it because she’s darkened her skin so much that they actually think she’s Latina is disturbing. She is a WHITE WOMAN, in brown face, holding an award she got over actual Latina woman, joking around about quinceañeras. pic.twitter.com/3ee1lZ8Pif
— Muqing M. Zhang (@muqingmzhang) December 8, 2018
7 Rings was a clusterfuck of appropriation
Ariana’s music has always been heavily influenced by black musicians. Most would argue she appreciates the historical canon, rather than appropriating it, But after dropping 7 Rings, several artists such as Soulja Boy and Nokia claimed she stole their flow. Moreover, the lyrics were likened to Princess Nokia’s song “Mine”, in which she celebrates the cultural significance of hair for women of colour.
But the issue isn’t the music, rather it’s the lyricism and imagery that goes with it. It’s the fact she uses a traditionally “hood” setting such as a trap house, to brag about her riches and the ability to afford seven diamond Tiffany rings for her girlfriends.
Also, the whole line “You like my hair? Gee thanks, just bought it” may reference her signature ponytail, but all it does is whitewash the politics surrounding weaves within black communities. When people started pointing this out to her, Ariana reposted a black fan’s Insta story which read: “White women talking about their weaves is how we’re gonna solve racism.” After more criticism, she took the post down and issued a non-apology: “Thanks for opening the conversation, it’s never my intention to offend anybody.”
Then there’s the whole kawaii aesthetic which is unexplainable and comes out of nowhere. Kawaii is defined as a Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasises the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance. It’s a style we saw Gwen Stefani appropriate a lot in her career. Sure, Ariana has been learning Japanese for a while, but using props with references to Asian culture feels forced and exploitative. Which leads me to my next point:
The whole bbq grill tattoo fiasco shows she’s just a white girl who messed up a tattoo because she didn’t know the meaning
Take away the tan, the clothes and the hair. What you’re left with is a classic white girl who got a tattoo on holiday, in a language she doesn’t understand. It backfired, because instead of of getting a tattoo of seven rings, she got one that translated to bbq grill in Japanese.
for those who are confused, ariana grande got a tattoo on her hand in japanese intended to spell out “7 rings” and posted it on instagram (now deleted), but japanese people in the comments started saying how the REAL translation is bbq grill pic.twitter.com/rF0NvEa9Yv
— Alice (@alice2096) January 30, 2019
She then said the reason the tattoo was incomplete was because it hurt too much. Right. But this is the thing, while it’s funny, the reality is that Ariana is white woman who repeatedly uses Asian cultures as an exotic aesthetic. Then when people call her out for it, she acts all cute and innocent to avoid any accountability.
Talking about the incident she said: “I also went back and got it fixed with the help of my tutor to be more accurate. I can’t read or write kanji obviously. What do you want me to do? It was done out of love and appreciation. What do you want me to say?”
She allegedly blocked a fan who called her a white woman
After Ariana tweeted and deleted her apology, a fan tweeted “She has never been more clearly a white woman before this moment”, which supposedly led to him being blocked.
Ariana really blocked someone for calling her a white woman? Lmaoooo pic.twitter.com/7GVOuyldos
— cody (@codyspearz) February 3, 2019
Ariana Grande isn’t the first or last white musician to culturally appropriate. There’s a trail of famous women standing behind her: Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea, Gwen Stefani and Fergie – just to name a few. But the different between Ariana and the others is that no only has she been culturally appropriating, but she’s also blackfished everyone in order to excuse the appropriation. And she’s done it so gradually, that until someone points it out, most people wouldn’t even realise she’s white. It’s happened right under our noses.
Her exoticism of various cultures allows her to interchangeably benefit from being both a white woman and having a “mixed” aesthetic. She’s white on the cover of magazines, but a woman of colour in music videos. She doesn’t have to explicitly claim that she’s one race or another, being racially “fluid” means she can change the way she looks any time she wants without having to answer for it. And honestly? She’s dangerously close to the Rachel Dolezal territory.