Ariana Grande has built her brand as a proud feminist.
She regularly puts out girl power anthems, supports the LGBTQ community, and speaks out for women’s rights.
But the last two months she has been noticeably silent on Black Lives Matter. She started out showing a lot of support. She posted on Instagram in late May, encouraging her supporters to donate and sign petitions. In early June, she attended a protest in L.A. And, two weeks later, she unfollowed Starbucks on Instagram after their BLM controversy.
But in the two months since then, nothing.
Most of what she’s posted on Instagram recently has been a combination of selfies mixed with images encouraging her fans to vote.
That’s all well and good, but as a self-described feminist, it’s not enough. Because being a feminist isn’t about showing up when it’s convenient. It’s not about showing up only when the spotlight is on you.
Feminism is about being in it for the long haul. Because breaking down the institutionalized racism that this country was built on isn’t going to take a week or a month. This is going to be a marathon.
So, where is Ariana Grande? Does she actually care? Or does she just move on from one issue to the next, taking on whatever happens to be “popular” at the time?
hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage.
all throughout beverly hills and west hollywood we chanted, people beeped and cheered along.
we were passionate, we were loud, we were loving.
cover this too please. #BLACKLIVESMATTER https://t.co/vD90CEtF94 pic.twitter.com/GZ6uKDfPM7
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 31, 2020
I realize that she’s a singer and not an activist. I don’t expect her to be an expert on racial injustices. But she has a huge platform and diehard Arianators. And she needs to use it.
Look at Selena Gomez. For two weeks in June, she handed over her Instagram account to 12 activists including BLM founder Alicia Garza, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, politician Stacey Abrams, and more. She acknowledged that she had a lot to learn and committed to educating herself and her followers. She even continued to promote the issues when her new single “Past Life” came out in mid-July. And later that month, she took a break from Instagram to allow herself more time to learn about racial injustice.
Ariana certainly isn’t the only celebrity to fall off the Black Lives Matter bandwagon. There are plenty of artists who posted their obligatory black square with a generic message and left it at that.
Yes, Ariana went further than that. But for someone who claims to be as committed to feminism and feminist issues as Ariana does, we expect more from her. A lot more.
Black Lives Matter is a feminist issue. Police brutality is a feminist issue. Systemic racism, the erasure of black culture, the murders of black trans women — all feminist issues.
If Ariana wants to continue to use feminism as such a huge part of her brand and profit off of it, then she needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Because otherwise that’s just performative allyship, plain and simple.
So Ariana better step up. It’s time she puts her money where her mouth is.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.