Ariana Grande blessed our hellworld with her latest album, thank u, next, on Friday, just months after her previous release, Sweetener. Hours before it dropped, Grande also released the music video for the last song on the album: “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
The song is the ultimate 2019 ~mood~, but it sounds like a throwback to early 2000s pop. The music video is no different, featuring a house party with incredibly beautiful people and a lush view of Los Angeles.
Lyrics to “break up with your girlfriend” don’t specify whom exactly Grande is talking to, but since Ariana has only been with men publicly, we assume it’s a man. The music video leads viewers to initially think the same thing: that she is trying to break-up a hetero couple in pursuit of the dude.
In one scene, Grande is sitting alone on the side, with her down ‘do and her drink, watching as the model-pretty couple dances without her. That is, until the female half of the pair gestures for her to come dance with them. The viewer is now treated to what looks like the forming of a ménage à trois or in modern parlance, a “throuple”:
It was at this point where I paused the music video and thought, “Is Ariana going to get it with that woman who looks like her clone?”
There are hints throughout the video that that is the case—if you look closely:
For the most part, though, the video implies that Ariana has her eyes set on the male half of the couple. Which makes sense; the song isn’t called “break up with your boyfriend.”
In the final second of the music video, though, the plot twists when , the woman that pulls Ariana into a kiss:
The video was released less than 12 hours ago and it already has its fans and critics of this twist, and I can see why. For one, the video cuts to black just as the two are about to kiss, which has led to fans calling the video queerbaiting. Queerbaiting is a term for when a piece of media hints at characters’ queerness—presumably to attract queer viewers—but it is never made explicit, and leaves those queer fans with lack of representation.
Furthermore, the moment is plastered with YouTube annotations that seem impossible to minimize, making the moment not even fully seen:
Not everyone is pissed off about the ending, though. Some fans on Twitter are wondering if Ariana is coming out as bisexual with this move, while others are even praising her as a “bisexual queen”:
Queerbaiting is a real problem in media, and bisexual people shouldn’t be used as props for a “twist” ending—but I wouldn’t dismiss this video quite yet. Knowing Ariana Grande’s Twitter presence, she may even respond to the mixed reactions herself today. And for now, I’ll be rewatching that dance scene over and over.
Happy 20biteen, everyone.