Some celebrities are just celebrities. They're talented, they entertain us, but not all of them use their wide-reaching public-facing platforms to champion important issues, raise awareness, or fight the good fights. Ariana Grande is not just a celebrity. Grande is outspoken about her opinions, and in a new interview with Elle, the pop star confessed that she's faced backlash for having a mind of her own — that's not going to make her stop doing that any time soon, though.
In an interview published on July 11, Grande said she can't understand why anyone in her position wouldn't choose to publicly align themselves with things that matter — even if it means losing fans and/or funds. "That’s wild to me," she said. When asked if her positions on things like Trump (she's anti), Black Lives Matter (pro), and gun reform have opened her up to criticism, she matter-of-factly told Elle,
"Of course! There’s a lot of noise when you say anything about anything. But if I’m not going to say it, what’s the f*cking point of being here? Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to shut up and sing my songs. I’m also going to be a human being who cares about other human beings; to be an ally and use my privilege to help educate people."
As for how Grande thinks that she — as well as other celebrities — can help educate their fans, it involves so much more than just voicing her own opinion because she has an audience. Artist can "not only help people and comfort them, but also push people to think differently, raise questions, and push their boundaries mentally," she explained.
In fact, the 25-year-old singer made a particularly timely suggestion for how fans might attempt to narrow the divide when it comes to interacting with close friends and family with whom you don't see eye-to-eye. “Everyone has to have uncomfortable conversations with their relatives," she said. "Instead of unfriending people on Facebook who share different political views, comment! Have a conversation! Try to spread the f*cking light."
Grande has been spreading plenty of light herself lately, especially in the wake of the 2017 Manchester bombing during one of her shows that claimed 22 of her fans' lives and left hundreds more injured. Grande's mom, Joan, revealed to Elle that her daughter wasn't sure if she could ever perform again following the horrific tragedy.
According to Joan, Grande cried for two days straight back home in Boca Raton, and barely spoke a word. When she did speak, though, she was determined to take care of her U.K. fans. "It was two or three in the morning," Joan recalled. "[Ariana] crawled into bed and said, 'Mom, let’s be honest, I’m never not going to sing again. But I’m not going to sing again until I sing in Manchester first.'"
Of course, Grande did a lot more than sing when she went back to Manchester less than two weeks after the attack. On June 4, 2017, Grande put on the One Love Manchester benefit concert, a star-studded event that included appearances from Coldplay's Chris Martin, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and a whole slew of other big-name musicians.
According to Variety, Grande's benefit raised nearly $13 million in total for the victims of the May 22 bombing, with almost $3 million of that having been raised throughout the course of the three-hour concert.
"I want to thank you so much for coming together and being strong," Grande told the crowd, as reported by Time. "I love you guys so much, and I think the kind of love and unity you’re displaying is the medicine the world needs right now."
The world no doubt needs a lot of things right now, and even though Grande can't fix everything, she's certainly doing a damn good job of making sure she spreads the light.