Today, the voice behind some of your favorite bops turns 30 years old. That’s right, the “Break Free” singer is celebrating a milestone birthday, which just so happens to be the day same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S., and there’s plenty to be excited about. The powerhouse vocalist is known for her pop music portfolio, a whistle register that’s reminiscent of songbird Mariah Carey, a sky high ponytail, and for being a gay icon.
It’s no secret that Ariana is beloved by the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone who has ventured into a gay bar has seen many a queer person belting out “Into You”, “Side to Side”, or “7 Rings”. Not to mention, Ariana has been incredibly vocal about her support of LGBTQ+ rights, and her allegiance to the queer community started with her love of her gay social media star, actor, and singer, her brother Frankie Grande.
When Ariana effortlessly imitates fellow gay icon Jennifer Coolidge in interviews or perform songs from any member of the acclaimed vocal trinity (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion), it’s hard not to associate Ariana with queer discourse. So let’s go down memory lane (or “Honeymoon Avenue” for all of the “Arianators”) to check out some of the many times Ariana reaffirmed her gay icon status.
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Calling out Supreme Court Justices against gay marriage
On June 26, 2015, the United States legalized same-sex marriage. For this to take place during Pride month was nothing short of phenomenal and Ariana, who was performing at New York City’s Dance on the Pier, was ecstatic about the news. Aside from belting out a medley of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and Madonna’s “Vogue”, Ariana took the time to call out the Supreme Court Justices who voted against gay marriage. The singer said, “Make some noise if you think the Supreme Court Justices who voted against gay marriage should get their heads out of their f*ck*ng *ss*s and join the g*dd*mn celebration. Make some noise if you’ve got one less problem without them m*therf*ck*rs.”
“Thank U, Next”
Ok, while many gays will break out into a dance routine around “Break Free” and “Into You”, “Thank U, Next” has to take the crown as Ariana’s gayest hit. A post-break up, self-love anthem, “Thank U, Next” was written by Ariana and two of her besties, queer artists Victoria Monét and Tayla Parx. The song served as the lead single to her album of the same name, went number one on the Billboard music charts in multiple countries, and the music video is definitely queer canon, with references towards new millennium hit movies, including 13 Going on 30, Legally Blonde (with a Jennifer Coolidge cameo), Bring it On, and Mean Girls. Not to mention, she also performed a First Wives Club-esque rendition of the song live, alongside Victoria and Tayla, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
RuPaul’s Drag Race appearances (2015 & 2023)
Ariana has been a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race not once, but twice. She first appeared on the seventh season of the show and then appeared on the most recent fifthteenth season. Of course her appearances gagged the drag performers both times. Additionally, several of her songs have been a part of different “lip sync for your life” moments on the show, including “Bang Bang” featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, “Into You”, and “One Last Time”.
“Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”
“Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” was the third single from Ariana’s album Thank U, Next. Another song that dominated the Billboard charts in multiple countries, the music video focuses on the love triangle between Ariana, Riverdale actor Charles Melton, and model Ariel Yasmine, who plays an Ariana doppelgänger. At the end of the music video, Ariana moves in for a kiss with Ariel before the screen goes dark. Critics called it queerbaiting, fans were shook, but ultimately, Ariana had a follow up song to explain everything.
Ariana’s singing about sexual fluidity on “Monopoly”
The follow up song in question, “Monopoly”, a separate single from her Thank U, Next album run. The song, which is co-written and features Victoria Monét, is all about “friendship, freedom, protecting your energy and staying right in your bag,” according to a tweet from Ariana. But the song’s lyrics drew plenty of attention from Victoria, who is openly bisexual, and Ariana singing about liking women and men. A fan tweeted out that “Ariana ain’t gotta label herself, but she said what she said” to which Ariana responded with “I haven’t before and still don’t feel the need to now. Which is okay.”
Ariana doesn’t have to label her sexuality, but one thing is 100% certain, she’s definitely a gay icon.
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