Dear Ariana Grande…
WARNING: Please be advised that this blog contains quotes with explicit language.
I know that I’m not in your target audience but, because I’m the dad of three daughters I kinda am. My eldest girls, Paris and Gigi, loved you as Cat Valentine on Victorious and so, being a great dad, I would sit and watch it with them. They were 11 and eight at the time, and they adored you. Our youngest was just a baby in 2009, but she’s now ten, and you’re a hero to her. She loves your music, and herein lies the problem.
Ariana, you’ve achieved your fame (and accompanying fortune) on the back of adoring young female fans. So, what’s the deal with the new album, Sweetener? There’s very little that’s sweet about it. Trinity, our youngest, was hanging out for your new album but, when it was released, we found that all but one track was marked “explicit” – as if there isn’t enough of that sort of stuff on the pop charts already. Twenty-eight of the current Top 50 songs in Australia are explicit, and many of the others contain themes that are unsuitable for a 10-year-old to be exposed to. Children’s innocence lasts for such a short period of time, why do we want to rob them of this amazing time in their lives?
Your current hit, Breathin’, is one of those 28 explicit songs in the charts. The content of the song seems like an honest cry for help from someone who’s feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of life. So why include the line, “How do I know if this *&^%$ fabricated?” Why not “stuff?” It starts with ‘s’ and has one syllable and wouldn’t detract from your song or its message. But Breathin’ is tame compared to some of the other songs:
- Blazed is about being high on drugs and is just one of the songs including drug references.
- God is a woman is about a woman who’s going to “make love” to a guy “the way I like it, how I want it.” The boy will confess he’s been so blessed by the amazing sex that he will come to believe that God is a woman.
- Sweetener is a graphic description of oral sex.
- Everytime is about a girl who’s in an unhealthy, addictive relationship. She keeps leaving but always goes back to him, “Why, oh why does God keep bringing me back to you?” The song also includes references to drug and alcohol abuse.
- Better off: “Let’s put them topics to bed and go *&^% on the roof, just to say that we did it.”
- Goodnight n go: “Lately, all I want is you on top of me. You know where your hands should be.”
- The light is coming: “Ah, gonna break that *&^% down … can’t let an f-boy eff up my nice vibes.”
Ariana, you seem like a lovely person. The compassion you showed following the Manchester bombing was stunning. I’ve admired you and your talent for many years, and I’ve been happy with my girls being “Arianators.” But not anymore. While my two eldest daughters are no longer in your target audience, my ten-year-old is. She and I talked about your new album, and she was really disappointed when I told her it was all explicit. She failed to understand why you needed to do that – and so do I. It’s like Miley Cyrus 2.0. You’ve let your young fans down.
I realise it’s too late to change your current album, but can I respectfully ask you to contemplate this plea from a dad who loves his daughters and wants to protect them (and other children) from the darker side of life for as long as possible? Please consider your young fans who have made you famous, wealthy and influential and care enough to use these things to make the world a better place.
Rob Buckingham is the founding pastor of Bayside Church, a thriving faith community in Melbourne, Australia.
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