This year started off on the wrong foot, but it seems that it’s going to end on a high note – and if there’s anyone who can hit that note, it’s Ariana Grande. The 27-year-old singer, who already topped the charts twice this year, decided to go for the hat trick on Oct. 23 by releasing “Positions,” the first single off of her new album. She also dropped a super hot video for the new track, one that portrays Ariana as the President of the United States.
At the start of the video, Ariana – in a look reminiscent of Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis – conducts business with a diverse cabinet of advisors. In another scene, while flanked with female generals and Secret Service members, she heads to a conference, walking confidently like the Leader of the Free World. Ariana also gives love to the United States Postal Service, awarding mail carriers with (presumably) the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the end of the video, she walks her dogs while giving a salute to two members of the Armed Forces.
Ariana can do more than look presidential. She singer is by no means a stranger to politics. Her 2019 Sweetener tour teamed with HeadCount.org to set up booths at her concerts where fans could register to vote. Since the bombing outside of her Manchester concert in 2017, Ariana has been an outspoken advocate of gun control. She performed at the March For Our Lives in 2018, the event organized by survivors of the Parkland massacre. After concluding her Dangerous Woman tour, Ariana took a flight from Hong Kong to North Carolina to perform at A Concert For Charlottesville, a response to the deadly Unite the Right rally.
Ariana is also not afraid to condemn Donald Trump, 73, and his administration. Trump’s victory in 2016 left Ariana “in tears” and she has denounced his actions ever since. Her “thank u, next” video contained a subtle shade at Trump’s immigration policy. While channeling Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, Ariana is seen reading Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy. For those who have forgotten, the Trump administration’s policies have been a variety of cruelty, from putting kids in cages to banning Muslims from coming to America.
Recently, Ariana called the Department of Health and Human Service’s June decision to roll back protections for trans people “F-CKING DISGUSTING.” That same month, after Trump “strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers” to combat Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Ariana said she was “speechless.”
“nine states have primary elections on june 2nd. if u live in one of these states, please take things one step further by voting out the corrupt officials (not just the president) that are encouraging systematic racism and discrimination,” she tweeted. “as u fill out your ballot, please research / make informed choices. pay attention to how the candidates running have responded in this moment. let’s do everything we can big or small to make the changes necessary to fix the system. pls stay safe.”
“I would rather sell fewer records and be outspoken about what I think is some fuckery than sell more records and be…Switzerland,” she said during a 2019 Vogue profile. “Am I allowed to say that? I love Switzerland. The fake wokes are waiting to attack!”
Ariana probably doesn’t have to worry about not selling more records. Her political stances have seemingly not diminished the hype for her sixth studio album. “i can’t wait to give u my album this month,” she tweeted on Oct. 14, a surprise that nearly broke the internet. Her Arianators (are we still doing fan names in 2020?) were excited, to say the least, and their hype reached critical levels three days later when she shared the name of her new song. Ariana tweeted out a short slo-mo video of her typing out the word “POSITIONS” on a keyboard. She also tweeted a link to ArianaGrande.com. The revamped website contained two countdowns: one to Oct. 23, and one counting down until Oct. 30, assumably the date of #AG6.
The number of celebrity responses to the album announcement was also interesting. The Weeknd retweeted the announcement, leading some to think the “Love Me Harder” collaborators will team up on Ariana’s new record. Lil Nas X shared a Nicki Minaj meme that read, “So, there’s This Ariana Grande Album.” Some fans even speculated that an Ariana x BTS collab might be on the album, but that could just be wishing.
Ariana’s sixth studio album comes a year after her 1-2 punch of Sweetener (released in August 2018) and Thank U, Next. Both were critical and commercial hits, with the former containing “God Is A Woman,” “No Tears Left To Cry,” and “The Light Is Coming,” her collab with Nicki Minaj. Thank U, Next gifted the world with songs like the title track, “7 Rings,” and “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.”
As previously mentioned, Ariana has already tasted chart success this year. She teamed up with Justin Bieber for “Stuck with U,” a track that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It tied her with Justin, Mariah Carey, and Drake for most No. 1 Hot 100 debuts, and she would break that tie with “Rain On Me,” her duet with Lady Gaga.
However, “Stuck with U” was not without a certain rainbow-colored controversy. The song was released the same day as 6ix9ine’s “GOOBA.” Even though “GOOBA” broke all kinds of YouTube streaming records, it came in at No. 3 on the chart, prompting the controversial rapper to accuse Ariana and Justin of “buying” their way to the top of the chart. Justin and Ariana both pointed out that “my fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song…. ales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try. to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hard-working women (and only the women for some reason…..)”