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CNN reporter Oliver Darcy had some choice words for BuzzFeed News after their coverage of Grande’s video premiere. In a tweet featuring the news outlet’s front page, which highlighted the video’s release, Darcy wrote, “BuzzFeed does a lot of great journalism – so how is this the lead story on BuzzFeed News?”
The song “thank u, next” was released soon after Grande’s highly publicized breakup with fiancé Pete Davidson, and serves as an empowering post-breakup, self rediscovery anthem. Grande reflects on many of her past relationships and appreciates the positivity that came from each, moving into the future fully committed to the most important relationship of all – with that of herself.
“thank u, next” is Grande’s first No. 1 single on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Like the majority of her music, it’s catchy beat and charming lyrics find their way into your brain and never seem to leave. But it’s the personal backstory and message of self-love that have truly propelled the song into pop culture consciousness.
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In recent weeks Grande has been teasing the release of the highly anticipated music video for the smash hit, promising the piece to be a love letter to iconic early-2000s teen classics, such as Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, Bring It On, and 13 Going On 30 – and it did not disappoint.
So with all things considered, “thank u, next” is certainly a high point for Grande’s career and a fantastic treat for her fans, but as Oliver Darcy wonders, is it deserving of formal news coverage?
In short, yes.
To start, the video officially broke the record for most views on a YouTube video in 24 hours, reaching over 50 million views in it’s first day of release. In an age of overly saturated content, it is remarkable to release a project that universally commands the public’s attention. The video has become one of the biggest pop culture moments of the year.
Despite what many journalists such as Darcy would argue, pop culture happenings are indeed news because they dominate the public conversation and serve as a time capsule of sorts for the state of culture at any given moment. We can also hope that covering popular stories drives audiences to sites like BuzzFeed News, where they can then find the more hard-hitting, traditional stories. People are multi-faceted and can indeed care simultaneously about investigative reporting and the music video for a #1 song being released.
Other’s have voiced their concerns that Darcy may have a potential gender/age bias against Grande, a 25 year old woman, for overtaking the news media market. Contributing editor for Refinery29 Lily Herman writes, “I see we’re still having the discussion on if the work of young women and things that interest young women should appear on more news-y sites. *eyeroll*”
Herman goes on to accurately point out that Ariana Grande dominates internet culture at the moment. Grande’s work is globally reaching and beloved by the likes of both die-hard and casual fans. Again, the coverage of moments like these epitomize the global consciousness and are therefore instrumental in documenting public opinion.
Finally, in a day and age where too many people are abandoning traditional news sites because of their unrelentingly somber coverage, it is a welcome breath of fresh air to read about the heartwarming, nostalgic work of a beloved pop star. Samantha Cooney, content strategy editor of TIME, simply sums up the need for a positive story, tweeting in response to Darcy’s question, “because this is the news that we need on a Friday afternoon.”
Grande herself was a victim of one of these grim news stories just last year after a terrorist bombing at her concert in Manchester killed 22 of her fans. For a singer and her supporters to come back stronger than ever from such a gruesome attack and rally behind a video that celebrates life and positivity is exactly the kind of headline that deserves plenty of attention.
The world finds itself in a climate where people need to laugh at the perfect casting of Kris Jenner as the mother of Mean Girls villain Regina George, or Grande and Legally Blonde star Jennifer Coolidge recreating the iconic “bend and snap”. Attention and coverage that can help spread positivity and laughter is never a bad thing.
All we can say to Oliver Darcy’s criticism is “thank u, next.”