Ariana Grande’s new Sound of Music-inspired single “7 Rings” dropped on Friday, January 18th to record-breaking streams and downloads. And while many fans interpreted the song as an anthem of female financial independence, others couldn’t help but notice the fact that the accompanying music video was rife with cultural appropriation—towards both Black and Asian cultures.
The promos for the video featured Asian-“inspired” lettering and characters used purely for aesthetics (Grande herself has no ethnic or cultural roots in Asia). The single itself seemed heavily inspired by songs from black artists Soulja Boy and Princess Nokia—neither of whom were credited—and includes the lyric, “I want it/ I got it/ You like my hair?/ Gee, thanks, just bought it” (a clear reference to weaves, which hold special significance for many black women).
Grande appeared to completely ignore the backlash, until she posted—and then deleted—the following:
Grande may have misinterpreted the user’s (seemingly) sarcastic comment as an authentic compliment, which is why she presumably later took the post down. However, the Shade Room reposted it, prompting the singer to respond in the comments section.
At the very least, it seems as though Grande is listening to what others have to say about the problematic nature of her latest work. Whether she uses it as a learning experience as she embarks on her next creative endeavors remains to be seen…