Ariana Grande gave her first extensive interview in months to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe while curating an At Home playlist for his radio show. And for the first time, Grande discussed at length how problematic and sexist calling her and other women “divas” is. She explained why that treatment led her to stop doing interviews and how the stigma behind the label traumatized her.
Lowe started the discussion, telling Grande, “The word diva gets thrown around when someone is successful in all the wrong connotations. It gets completely misconstrued. What it really is [the misconstruction] is it’s an insult to a strong female energy. That could be female energy in women or in men or in bi or in transgender. It doesn’t matter. That diva energy really is about taking control. That’s what I love about that word.” He said that when people use ‘diva’ to insult others, he considers it to be “the wrong use of that word.”
That’s when Grande explained what a double standard antagonizing women for being “divas” is compared to the celebration of men as “bosses.”
“Yeah, like I hope so,” Grande started of the word’s more positive meaning. “I truly hope they are because that means they’ve got an opinion and a drive and artistic integrity. They’ve got something to say, it means. It’s funny because you bring that up. I stopped doing interviews for a really long time because I felt like whenever I would get into a position where somebody would try to say something for clickbait or twist my words or blah, blah, blah, I would defend myself. And then, people would be like, ‘Oh, she’s a diva.’ I was like, ‘This doesn’t make any sense.’ Because I have an opinion about something that was an opinion artistically or if I am directing something, or if I have something to say regarding a choice that’s being made with my career or something, blah, blah, blah, it always was in the past manipulated and turned into this negative thing, whereas I don’t see that with men.”
“It’s like when men express their opinions or defend themselves: ‘Oh, he’s being a boss. Oh, he’s taking control.'” she continued. “And yet, it’s just so not the same thing with women, which I hope we can work on fixing. And of course that’s not always the case. It’s not always that way. But it does make it kind of… It makes you want to quiet down a little bit. But I’m trying to also say, ‘f*ck that.’ You know what I mean? I’m tired of seeing women silenced by it. I think there’s this thing where we’ll hear something, or be, ‘Oh, she said this.’ And then it really sits with you. And you feel like, ‘Oh wow. Should I not express myself anymore? Should I not have this fight that I want to have anymore? Should I just say, okay, and let it be?'”
“And then it kind of fucks you up a little bit,” she continued. “It’s like, ‘Yeah.’…Of course it’s not an all the time thing. But it is definitely still prominent. But I’m trying to just say, ‘F*ck it,’ and let go of that trauma. Because I do have a lot to say, and I do enjoy talking to people. And I do want to do interviews and share with people, and not be afraid to be myself. And I’m working on becoming that.”
“If I may say, when you stepped away, though, you let your work do that fighting, which was really powerful-” Lowe added in. “It was like, okay, I could sit here and have 15, 20 conversations with people and try to navigate these murky shark ridden waters and see if I can get something positive out of it. Or I could let this work resonates, sit and hold the tone. And it did. And it has.”
“That’s going to make me cry. Thank you,” Grande said. “I appreciate that. Yuck, sorry. I appreciate that a lot. Because it was a really difficult time to navigate. Even coming back, I did one interview last year or something. And I was still misquoted a little bit and then it totally fucked up everything I meant. It’s just so weird. It’s nice to feel… First of all, to hear you say that, I appreciate that. I’m glad that the work said what it needed to. But also just, it feels good to be like, ‘I want to talk to my friend Zane and not be afraid of the world for two seconds.'”
You can listen to Grande’s full playlist here on Apple Music.