Still, unlike, say, Miley Cyrus, whose rebellion from the Disney machine was swift and in your face, Ms. Grande was patient and coy in her maturation. Even her one public scandal — she was caught on camera licking a doughnut she hadn’t paid for — was rated PG. (“I was so disgusted with myself,” she wrote in an apology.)
She has also grown more overtly feminist.
“I am tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present, or future PROPERTY/POSSESSION,” Ms. Grande wrote in 2015, in a widely shared open letter after a public breakup. “I … do not. belong. to anyone. but myself. and neither do you.”
Beyond young girls, Ms. Grande has cultivated a diverse fan base and spoken plainly about her interest in LGBT issues; on concert stages she urges audiences to celebrate being different.
“I was raised in a household where being gay was like, the most normal thing,” she told V Magazine in 2015. “You know, my brother is gay, all of my best friends are gay. When my brother came out of the closet, it wasn’t a big deal for my family. Even my grandpa, who is like, super old-school, was like, Good for you! It’s outrageous to me when I see people hate on someone because of their sexuality. I hate the intolerance. I hate the judgment.”
Ms. Grande’s persona has been built with nonstop productivity: three studio albums (all platinum) since 2013, guest appearances on more than a dozen singles and a constant stream of video clips, television appearances and social-media statements.
Ms. Grande has always presented herself as likable and approachable, from her role as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious” through the albums and videos of her ascendant solo career. Like a younger Mariah Carey, she flaunts a voice that can smoothly ascend sky-high, and she has applied it to increasingly self-assertive material. Her 2016 album, “Dangerous Woman,” expertly balanced infatuation and empowerment. The show she brought to Manchester, was a tightly choreographed spectacle full of songs about lust offered on her own terms.
Ms. Grande’s obsessive online fan base — she has 46 million followers on Twitter and 106 million on Instagram — are referred to as Arianators, and are up there with Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters and Beyoncé’s BeyHive in terms of loyalty and devotion.
After the attack, those Arianators spread clips of the singer interacting with fans across Twitter and Tumblr, along with a repurposed version of her bunny-ear logo atop a black ribbon.
They have also used the hashtag #ThisIsNotYourFaultAriana to address their idol directly. “this fandom is a FAMILY,” the Twitter user @tareemax, who attended the Manchester concert, wrote on Tuesday. “ariana is a part of that family. we ALL lost some of our brothers and sisters last night.”
Continue reading the main story