What do you get when you combine four iconic movies, dozens of celebrity cameos and one “mom-ager”?
The music video for Ariana Grande’s new single, “thank u, next.”
Released Nov. 30, the video, directed by Hannah Lux David, opens with a scene straight out of “Mean Girls,” complete with interview-style shorts of various celebrities and friends of Grande talking about the singer, including Troye Sivan, Colleen Ballinger (also known as Miranda Sings) and Jonathan Bennett, who played Aaron Samuels in “Mean Girls.”
The music video then cuts to a scene of Grande, dressed as Regina George, scribbling in a burn book about her past boyfriends, including Big Sean and Mac Miller, along with the introduction to her song, “thank u, next,” in which she name drops all her past boyfriends. Grande also references her ex-fiance Pete Davidson by writing “Sorry I dipped” on a photo of them together.
The video continues to recreate some of the most popular scenes from “Mean Girls,” including a fan favorite of the video, Kris Jenner as Regina George’s mom. Dressed in a pink tracksuit, the 63-year-old Kardashian-Jenner matriarch dances along to the chorus, creating excitement among many social media users, who loved the hidden Easter egg in the video.
Grande also recreates iconic scenes from movies like “Bring It On,” “13 Going on 30” and “Legally Blonde.” Dressed as Elle Woods, Grande walks along campus, struts on a treadmill and even stops the video to create a dialogue with “Legally Blonde” actress Jennifer Coolidge, who reprises her role as manicurist Paulette in the music video.
The music video generated a buzz on social media, with many fans praising Grande’s portrayal of four iconic feminine roles, as well as the cameos and references sprinkled throughout the video. The video also broke YouTube’s previous record for most views in 24 hours. In less than one day after its release, the video had more than 46 million views on YouTube.
Grande’s video was a refreshing take on four female-driven classics. With her recent breakup and the death of her ex-boyfriend in the news over the last couple months, Ariana Grande has been the center of pop culture gossip. This video shows strength, resilience and creativity. It’s the epitome of Grande: a kick-ass feminist singer who overcomes obstacles and comes out stronger. It’s no surprise that the music video smashed records. Additionally, the video was praised by several celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon and Rachel McAdams, who portrayed Elle Woods and Regina George respectively.
The films selected by Grande are all movies that have redefined what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, and as an empowered and influential artist, Grande’s retelling of the classic stories inspires viewers across the world, both young and old. Her already-feminist song “thank u, next” had broken Spotify’s single-day streaming record for a female artist — a title previously held by Taylor Swift.
Ending on a bang, Kris Jenner shouts “thank you next, bitch,” at the end of the video. eliciting a massive response from fans everywhere, with Grande tweeting out that she’d love to make the line her text tone.
Grande’s wit and charm created a clever, revolutionary and successful video. Even if viewers don’t like the singer, they are drawn in by the movies portrayed in the video.