Dear Ariana Grande


Culture parenting

Dear Ariana Grande

5 September 2018 Hits:6478

WARNING: Please be advised that this blog contains quotes with explicit language.  

Dear Ariana,

I know that I’m not in your target audience but, because I’m the dad of three daughters I kinda am.  My eldest girls, Paris and Gigi, loved you as Cat Valentine on Victorious and so, being a great dad, I would sit and watch it with them.  They were 11 and eight at the time, and they adored you.  Our youngest was just a baby in 2009, but she’s now ten, and you’re a hero to her.  She loves your music, and herein lies the problem.

Ariana, you’ve achieved your fame (and accompanying fortune) on the back of adoring young female fans.  So, what’s the deal with the new album, Sweetener?  There’s very little that’s sweet about it.  Trinity, our youngest, was hanging out for your new album but, when it was released, we found that all but one track was marked “explicit” – as if there isn’t enough of that sort of stuff on the pop charts already.  Twenty-eight of the current Top 50 songs in Australia are explicit, and many of the others contain themes that are unsuitable for a 10-year-old to be exposed to.  Children’s innocence lasts for such a short period of time, why do we want to rob them of this amazing time in their lives?

Your current hit, Breathin’, is one of those 28 explicit songs in the charts.  The content of the song seems like an honest cry for help from someone who’s feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of life. So why include the line, “How do I know if this shit’s fabricated?”  Why not “stuff?” It starts with ‘s’ and has one syllable and wouldn’t detract from your song or its message.  But Breathin’ is tame compared to some of the other songs:

  • Blazed is about being high on drugs and is just one of the songs including drug references.
  • God is a woman is about a woman who’s going to “make love” to a guy “the way I like it, how I want it.” The boy will confess he’s been so blessed by the amazing sex that he will come to believe that God is a woman.
  • Sweetener is a graphic description of oral sex.
  • Everytime is about a girl who’s in an unhealthy, addictive relationship. She keeps leaving but always goes back to him, “Why, oh why does God keep bringing me back to you?” The song also includes references to drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Better off: “Let’s put them topics to bed and go fuck on the roof, just to say that we did it.”
  • Goodnight n go: “Lately, all I want is you on top of me. You know where your hands should be.”
  • The light is coming: “Ah, gonna break that shit down … can’t let an f-boy eff up my nice vibes.”

Ariana, you seem like a lovely person. The compassion you showed following the Manchester bombing was stunning.  I’ve admired you and your talent for many years, and I’ve been happy with my girls being “Arianators.”  But not anymore.  While my two eldest daughters are no longer in your target audience, my ten-year-old is.  She and I talked about your new album, and she was really disappointed when I told her it was all explicit.  She failed to understand why you needed to do that – and so do I.  It’s like Miley Cyrus 2.0.  You’ve let your young fans down.

I realise it’s too late to change your current album, but can I respectfully ask you to contemplate this plea from a dad who loves his daughters and wants to protect them (and other children) from the darker side of life for as long as possible?  Please consider your young fans who have made you famous, wealthy and influential and care enough to use these things to make the world a better place.

Kind regards,



Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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14 replies on “Dear Ariana Grande”

Marija Thorntonsays:

Well written article Rob. Glad someone had the courage to address this issue.
God bless you & Christie. I admire you both for your transparency, honesty & grace.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thank you for your kind words Marija

Zizi paltossays:

A wonderfully written, heartfelt message from a father.

Nancy de Keizersays:

Thankyou Rob & Christie for caring enough about your girls & other young children to investigate & to politely challenge this pop culture slippery slope.(Can the bar of standards get any lower)?
Nice the way you explained the situation to your daughter.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks Nancy. Navigating these things with young children needs a total of time and attention. Much love to you


Rob Buckingham you rock! A well written response to a much needed reaction! Thank you Rob that you are trying to protect the young ones from some of the unnecessary evils! Nerida


Oh no – I’m right on the cusp of this now with Verity and it scares me so. Thanks for speaking up. Totally sick of the sexualisation of young kids and the music industry plays a huge part. Popular Teen/tween culture over the decades has been governed primarily by pop music and the idols it creates… everyone got hot under the collar by Elvis 🕺 and his hip moves, which now would be considered twee and perfectly innocent- parents at the time were outraged and took to the streets. Is it time more noise was made? Ariana Grande is but one example. I fear that young artists are now under pressure to put this rubbish out there, maybe just maybe she’s being exploited? Anyway, it’s a very sad and tragic sign of the times.


I completely agree with everything you’ve written, Rob. Well said.


Brilliant. Thank you!

Danni Synotsays:

Well written Rob! I fully agree, but I also wonder what influence and coercion the record labels and artist management use in their respective contracts over artists. They no doubt play a huge and perhaps ever bigger role in all of this, given the explicit “trend” in the secular music world.


It’s such a shame that most of the ‘mainstream music’ is so shallow in its subject matter, such as getting high or sex. It’s just boring, music is supposed to be thought provoking and intimate in my opinion at least. I love the music I listen to especially when it uses artistic and poetic devices to ask deep philosophical questions. Don’t get me wrong though; sex, drug abuse (and all manner of explicit subject matter) should be talked about as to not make it a taboo subject. However for such an influential singer song writer who’s main demographic is young people it isn’t acceptable.

Thankyou rob, such a powerful letter

Tamai Heatonsays:

Thank you, Rob, I have daughters too and they loved Arianna in Victorious and when we saw the video of God is a woman, it’s almost pornographic. we were shocked. Your note was very respectful.

Martha Martinsays:

Well said Rob. Max and I have a grand’ daughter she is only 4 going on 5 but already wondering what she will be exposed to type of music, the drug and sex scenes. She is growing up to be a beautiful girl. Like you with your daughters, we’re protecting our grand daughter from those scenarios.

Shungu Patsikasays:

I share your sentiments, Rob. On one had we want to protect our children from wicked influences but on the other we want them to enjoy music & the arts.

I do think there’s an element of spiritual warfare going on in the world that especially targets the hearts & minds of young ones.

As parents, how do we navigate this? It’s not easy. Thanks for the article.

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