After listening to Ariana Grande’s fourth chart-topping album “Sweetener,” you’ll believe God is a woman.
The singer’s latest album full of hits that uplift and empower women does not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with her outspoken nature.
“We are not objects. We are queens,” Grande penned in a tweet from December 2016.
Unfortunately, for her and women everywhere, in recent headlines, her newest album is not the topic of discussion.
Aretha Franklin, known as “The Queen of Soul,” passed away at age 76 on August 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer. In 2015, in an interview with radio host Hoda Kobt, Franklin teased fans with a possible collaboration between her and Grande.
“I think we have a hot duo going,” Franklin remarked, expressing her respect for the singer.
Grande herself released a cover of Franklin’s iconic single “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in 2012 and later reprised the song at the beloved singer-songwriter’s funeral this past Friday, August 31. Though her incredible performance warrants massive news coverage, her rendition was not the press’ main focus this news-week.
At Franklin’s nine-hour-long funeral service, the focus turned to Grande as eulogizer Pastor Charles H. Ellis III wrapped her into a hug and grazed his hand up her waist and onto her breast — in front of thousands of attendees as well as live viewers.
Though this act is despicable and shocking — especially as it took place during a memorial service inside of a church — it is not uncommon for women to experience such public acts of sexual harassment and assault.
When viewing this clip, it’s evident by Grande’s body language that she is extremely uncomfortable with the way that Pastor Ellis is holding her. She smiles through a grimace as she tries to pull away just enough to not draw attention to herself and take the spotlight from Aretha during a service honoring her talent, life, and achievements.
But what does it say when a woman as strong and prominent as Ariana Grande feels as if she cannot publicly react to assault for fear of causing a scene?
It is evident that this issue is so deeply ingrained in American culture when incidences including a man of power who feels comfortable groping a woman regardless of who she is, where they are, and who is watching occur on such a public, unapologetic scale. Though thankfully this occurrence was brought to light instead of being brushed under the rug, many women aren’t so lucky.
Ariana Grande showed up to perform at a memorial service — as a courtesy and a part of her job. Forty-eight percent of women have reported harassment on the job, and most men and women in America — 62 percent of men and 71 percent of women — believe sexual harassment in the workplace is widespread.
These unacceptable actions by men of power know no bounds and do not discriminate, regardless of a woman’s power.
Aretha Franklin spent her entire life demanding respect for women, and it is an absolute disgrace to her honor that this occurred at a service meant to honor her achievements and her values.