TBH, I’m usually pretty chill about Ariana Grande. Her song ‘thank u, next’ is one of the best things to come out of modern pop. Plus, she’s done some pretty good stuff around supporting Planned Parenthood and defending her LGBT fans.
Ariana is also often hailed as an icon by LGBT fan groups, and has been hugely associated with the LGBT community. Which, right now, is pretty yikes because she’s just been accused of stealing and profiting off queer culture. And oh boy, is there a lot. Sit down and buckle up, because we have some tea.
Ariana Grande and Forever 21
So just to give you a quick rundown of what’s going on, Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for 10 million dollars for using a “look-alike” model and using visuals inspired from her 7 Rings music video.
One of the Instagram images they screenshotted as part of their case features a model wearing hair clips and other clothing items similar to Ariana Grande, with similar lighting from the music video, and in the caption they reference the song, saying “Gee thanks, just bought it.” Plus, they also use the slogan “You want it. We got it.”
It’s pretty clear they’re jumping on the Ariana train, essentially selling the idea that anyone can look like Ariana, and they have the clothes to make sure of it. Ariana Grande has accused them of faking an endorsement from her and capitalising off her success.
The tea though, comes from the fact that Ariana has been doing the same thing with other artists, constantly stealing looks from minorities and capitalising off their creativity without recognition.
Farrah Moan Accuses Ariana Grande Of Stealing Her Design
Drag Queen Farrah Moan recently called out Ariana Grande for stealing one of her looks. Grande sent a picture of Moan’s iconic Ru Paul outfit to another Queen to have it made, and Moan was never contacted about it.
Ariana should give me a cut of that 10M since her team literally sent a pic of me to the designer and paid them to copy my look from as4. (Finally met the designer and got told the Tea) I guess stealing from queer artists for profit is fine tho 🤷🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/1smGr8K4G0
— 👑 Farrah Moan (@farrahrized) September 4, 2019
Farrah Moan actually met the designer who re-created the dress for Ariana Grande, who admitted that she was essentially copying it at Ariana’s request. In the past Moan was flattered by the use of her work as inspiration, but it became a different story once Ariana was profiting off the same actions which she was suing.
I love her too! I wasn’t gonna even say anything or care because I was actually flattered by it and I’ve known for MONTHS but now it’s kinda getting to me since she’s just racking in millions over it
— 👑 Farrah Moan (@farrahrized) September 4, 2019
But the point is her team also stole. U can attack me all day but it’s not gonna change anything. I can admit I was petty with that gif I posted& I’ll apologize for that but at the end of the day they did what they did. Idc about suing anyone, just needed to put this out there
— 👑 Farrah Moan (@farrahrized) September 5, 2019
Farrah Moan really made her point crystal clear on ET Live, saying “You should cover your ground a little bit before you want to so intensely come for someone for taking something from you.”
“If you are feeling so inspired by somebody, give them a platform. If you like something that they did, or came up with, hire them to come up with something for you. Buy something from them. Don’t go behind their back and try to steal it and backpedal.”
Ariana Also Stole Off Asian Designer Yeha Leung
Diet Prada, a fashion watchdog, recently noted that Ariana Grande has also stolen looks from Yeha Leung, who creates bondagewear. Grande’s team asked Leung to create looks for her, but she turned them down due to a “timing issue.” So, instead, the team stole her designs and just got replicas made by someone else.
Ariana Grande rejected an endorsement deal from Forever 21 because they couldn’t afford her, and then they just used look-alike models and replicated her looks into knock offs instead, which resulted in the ads that Ariana is suing over as theft. The exact same theft she’s committed against Yeha Leung.
So, What Exactly Is The Take Away From All This?
Now, there are huge debates around intellectual property and cultural appropriation. People will come crying with things like “what, can’t I be inspired by anything?!” etc. But the thing is, being inspired by someone’s work is very different from actively profiting off it while they don’t see a cent.
Ariana Grande is obviously a totally load celebrity. She has power and platforms that regular people don’t, and so when she steals art she actively takes away from the original artists. She overshadows them, and it becomes hers, not theirs. Instead she should just hire the designers to create looks for her, and pay them for their ideas, rather than outsourcing it after using them for “inspiration.”
Image Sources: Twitter @farrahrized, Instagram @diet_prada, @forever21, Ariana Grande VEVO