Ariana Grande, an anodyne teen favourite hit by tragedy

Shaun Tandon –

Pop star Ariana Grande, whose concert was struck by one of Britain’s deadliest attacks in years, is a favourite of pre-teens rarely known for causing a stir.
The 23-year-old former child star called her last album Dangerous Woman, but her controversies have been markedly low-key, with the “danger” in her lyrics more about love than anything more sinister.
Grande wrote on Twitter she felt “broken” after the attack on Monday evening at the Manchester Arena, which killed 22 people after she left stage.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words,” she wrote.
Born in Florida, Grande showed promise from an early age in theatre and by her teenage years had joined a Broadway musical, moving to New York where she sang on the side.
Grande entered the public eye when she was cast on the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious, playing the talented but at times aloof high school student Cat Valentine.
Grande kept the feline imagery as she branched out into pop music, frequently sporting a cat-ear headband or tying her brunette hair up in pigtails.
Over the course of her three studio albums, her look has gradually turned more sensual and sings of her power over men.
But unlike Miley Cyrus, a fellow onetime child star to whom she is sometimes compared, Grande never broke completely with the teenybopper image. Her ‘Arianator’ fan base is full of young girls experiencing their first concerts.
In perhaps her biggest brush with controversy, Grande in 2015 released a feminist manifesto that attacked the focus on her, and other women’s, personal lives.
“The double standard and misogyny are still ever present,” Grande, who has more than 45 million followers on Twitter, said.
As a celebrity, she has occasionally found herself in tabloid press. In 2015 she was caught on camera with one of her back-up dancers licking the frosting off a doughnut and mumbling, “I hate America.”
She later clarified she was proud to be American and was only critiquing her country’s penchant for overeating.
Grande has stayed away from activism, other than speaking out about her vegan diet as a way to reduce suffering for animals.— AFP