Ariana Grande’s Music Video “Positions” Is Like A Quest To Find The Perfect Diversity Match
For her new video, the singer assembles the white house in which everything looks beautiful and nothing feels true.
Ariana Grande is an enviably talented singer, and, seemingly, hardworking one — in the last few years she released two highly-successful albums, and her new long-play is on the way. The pop star has also been quite outspoken about supporting women rights and fighting against social oppression, both in her music and social media posts. Her song “God is a woman” — alongside its music video — is probably the most striking feminist anthem of the decade.
Last week, Grande released the new single “Positions” together with a politically-charged music video in which she appears as the commander-in-chief residing in the White House with her fellow “ministers”, mainly women of all colours and shapes, and a couple of gay men. It’s weird to put such an emphasis on the composition of Grande’s white house, but that’s what the singer and her team want people to pay attention to. They want media, fans and critics praise them for the brave political and social statement ahead of the important elections in the US.
Which I find to be problematic.
Not because I’m against a female president. No. I wish we had more female presidents — the world needs more compassion and maternal energy.
Not because a singer has no right to express her political stance. No. Speaking up through your artistry is great, and should be encouraged.
It’s also not because I don’t want women and gay men to be in the white house. No. I think they must be there to represent society fairly.
Promoting diversity is a noble thing to do, and we should all do more to ensure a fair representation in the institutions of power. And I’m trying to be careful when writing this because I still think I might be missing a subtle irony of some sort. But what I see as an issue here is how, in this instance, the diversity ticket is being used for a commercial gain, rather than a genuine expression of one’s belief.
In “Positions”, Grande sings love overtures to her new lover and shows her readiness to take on any position to make their relationship work. Which is great. This is what both partners should do for each other, isn’t it?
In the music video, Grande doesn’t sing overtures to her new lover. Instead, she heads the team where neither her new lover nor anyone who could potentially be her new lover is present. She heads the team of beautiful, perfectly-looking women and stereotypically-looking gay men. She cherry-picks minority groups and caricatures them to fetch public praise.
Here’s a token for a woman of colour. Here’s a token for a gay man. Here’s a token for a transgender person. Have you seen them all? Great. The diversity ticket is complete. The media is ecstatic. Female fans are ecstatic. Gay fans are ecstatic. Everyone is praising the artist for such a thoughtful and relevant work.
But not everyone is ecstatic.
I’m a gay fan, and I’m not ecstatic — I’m underwhelmed.
I’m underwhelmed because I don’t want anyone, including Ariana Grande, to exploit underrepresented groups to further their success — to make their public image prettier. Especially in such a glamorised and unrealistic manner.
I’m underwhelmed because Grande’s position of care looks more like a shoddy show off rather than a genuine commitment to fight injustice.
It diminishes the real problems we face in our everyday life.
So here’s the plea to all artists out there — if you want to explore the topic of diversity please make an effort to put out the content about someone else than a heterosexual guy you want to switch your positions for.
I like the song. I’ve been playing it on repeat for a couple of days