Criticisms of "7 Rings," Ariana Grande's latest single, keep coming in — and the artist appears to take them seriously. While Grande has not yet commented specifically on the accusations of plagiarism, she has addressed what some deemed a lack of sensitivity. On Sunday, Jan. 20, Grande responded to some of the "7 Rings" backlash on Instagram, and it sounds like the singer is ready to listen.
Grande's apology is specifically related to the backlash surrounding the line, "You like my hair? / Gee, thanks, just bought it." This is the same line Princess Nokia accused Grande of appropriating from her 2017 song "Mine" in a since-deleted tweet. Nokia's original song and lyric was about celebrating black women's hair, something she pointed out in a now-deleted video of her reacting to "7 rings." In the video, Nokia was seen listening to "7 Rings" followed up by a snippet of her own track. "Ain't that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmm... sounds about white," Nokia said in the video, as reported by People. Nokia also reportedly tweeted about alleged musical and lyrical similarities between her song and Grande's. And though Grande has not addressed these claims specifically, a recent comment she made on Instagram suggests she's taking any claims of appropriation seriously. (Bustle previously reached out to Grande's reps for comment regarding the similarities to Princess Nokia's song, but did not receive an immediate response.)
On Sunday, the Instagram account The Shade Room posted a since-deleted Instagram Story in which Grande reposted another person's Insta Story about "7 Rings" that joked, "white women talking about their weaves is how we're going to solve racism" — though without tone or more context it's unclear whether the comment or Grande's reaction to the comment was meant to be sarcastic, and if so, who the sarcasm is pointed towards.
It seems that some fans saw Grande's repost of the joke as her taking the "we're going to solve racism" comment sincerely. The Shade Room captioned their post of the deleted Instagram Story as one that "has fans upset because they feel she's missing the point of the backlash."
Grande then came to The Shade Room's comments section and apologized, clarifying the original intentions of the post. She wrote of the original post,
"I think her intention was to be like... yay a white person disassociating the negative stereotype that is paired with the word 'weave.'"
She added that she was "sorry if my response was out of pocket or if it came across the wrong way." Grande concluded by thanking people for "opening the conversation" and "talking to me about it" — which is an important acknowledgement and a good start.
The murky line between sampling, homage, and outright stealing has always been a point of contention between artists. And it's unclear whether Nokia or other artists that have accused Grande publicly of copying their work will seek any legal action.
Regardless, it seems like Grande is open to listening to criticism regarding her latest hit, and, who knows, maybe fans will get an exciting new collab once all the dust has settled.