It’s a good time to be Ariana Grande. The 25-year-old superstar set out to certify her status as a pop diva over the last year, and she succeeded. Along with breaking streaming records with both of her albums Sweetener and Thank U, Next, Grande also became the first solo artist to ever command each of the top three positions on the Billboard Hot 100, a feat previously accomplished only by The Beatles.
What makes the singer’s victory even sweeter is her history of support for the LGBTQ community. Since her mainstream breakthrough in 2013, the star has worked as an unflinching ally through her words, her actions and her music. In honor of her record-breaking accomplishment, here are 10 moments where Ariana Grande showed some love to the LGBTQ community.
Her love for the community goes way back
Ariana Grande’s career as a pop diva started with a bang in 2013, with the release of her debut album, the Babyface-produced Yours Truly. Two years before that, however, the then-17-year-old actress was already reminding gay kids that, yes, it would get better. “A little boy just told me he’s bullied and that people call him ‘gay.’ I hugged him & told him there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,” she tweeted. Ariana grew up surrounded by gay and trans friends whom she had met through brother Frankie Grande, who “is like my other half,” she said a year later. “I don’t know what it is, but it seems like gay people are a lot more pleasant and more individual than most people.”
She helps in the fight against online bullying
In 2013, Ariana (then a star in Nickelodeon’s series Victorious) joined fellow actresses Kat Graham and Bridgit Mendler in Seventeen magazine’s Digital Drama Campaign. The multi-platform effort aimed to raise awareness about the nation’s growing problem of cyberbullying and benefited STOMP Out Bullying. Created in 2005, the organization is the leading anti-bullying organization for kids and teens in the U.S., and it focuses on reducing and preventing digital abuse by educating young minds against, among other things, homophobia.
She abandoned Catholicism because of the Vatican’s anti-equality position
When she performed double-duty as a rising chart-topper and as a backstage host for the 2013 MTV EMA in Amsterdam, Grande explained why she’d left the Catholic Church: “[They] said SpongeBob SquarePants is gay and he’s a sinner and he should burn in hell. And Harry Potter was a sin. And working women. I was like, ‘Enough! First the gays, then SpongeBob and now Harry Potter? Get out my house!’ I was not having it!” She went further with her explanation a year later, mentioning her love for her gay brother: “When my brother was told that God didn’t love him, I was like, ‘OK, that’s not cool,’” she said in an interview. That did it.
She sang about a gay love affair
Another track from My Everything, “Break Your Heart Right Back,” is about a guy who cheats on his girlfriend with another guy. Even though the inspiration came from an episode that had happened to her, she found the concept “very fun,” she said in an interview. “Originally it was going to be about a boy who cheats with a girl, but then I was like, ‘No, I want it to be about a boy who cheats on a girl with another boy.’” The song, which samples Diana Ross’ classic gay staple “I’m Coming Out,” is proof that she totally got over the heartbreak.
She told Justices Roberts, Scalia & Thomas to do what?
Right after the Supreme Court announced its landmark decision on gay marriage, Ariana took to Twitter to celebrate the victory, writing a message filled with purple hearts and celebratory cake emojis. “YAAAAAAS AMERICA. LOVE WON. LOVE WINS. AND IT ALWAYS. WILL. (i’m crying).” Two days later, after opening her Dance on the Pier set with a sickening medley of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and Madonna’s “Vogue,” she threw some mega shade at some of the country’s highest legal authorities: “Make some noise if you think the Supreme Court justices who voted against gay marriage should get their heads out of their fucking asses and join the goddamn celebration,” she told the roaring crowd. “Make some noise if you’ve got one less problem without them motherfuckers.” Fun fact: her backup dancers’ body paint was an homage to gay art legend Keith Haring.
She encourages pre-out-of-closet queers
When Ariana brought her Honeymoon Tour to the American Airlines Center in Dallas in 2015, she celebrated National Coming Out Day by giving a shout-out to her out-and-proud fans and also sharing an inspiring message to the ones who hadn’t come out yet. “To my gay fans, I love you so much. And to my fans who are not out of the closet yet, to my babes who are shy about it: I love you, and you do not have to rush. You can take your time,” she told an audience of almost 10,000 Arianators. “And if anybody gives any of y’all shit about being who you are, I’ll kick their ass.”
She fought AIDS with GLAM
In 2016, Grande teamed up with MAC cosmetics for her own MAC Viva Glam line of lipsticks to benefit The MAC AIDS Fund. The organization is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, and it serves people of all ages, races and genders affected by the disease.
She’s served some serious steamy girl-on-girl action
The video for “Everyday,” the fourth single from her 2016 album Dangerous Woman features couples of different ages, races and sexualities who seem to be having a very horny day and can’t help but start having sex wherever they are. Two women in a laundromat, for example, start making out while folding their shirts, and things get heated pretty quickly.
She wrote the LGBTQ community a moving declaration of love
After we analyze, dissect, study and research every single detail of Ariana Grande’s personal and professional career, we can feel extremely thankful to have such a fierce ally who will always have our backs. However, her unconditional love for the community is never clearer than when she says that she, in fact, is the one who’s thankful to us. “I am eternally indebted to and inspired by the LGBTQ community,” she wrote in a letter for Billboard Pride in 2018. “I hope to create anthems for you that wrap you up with comfort and make you get your best life for as long as I live. Thank you for celebrating me the way I celebrate you.” How did we get so lucky?
She shot off to space with Drag Race’s Shangela
Grande has a personal history with RuPaul’s Drag Race, having been a judge on the show’s seventh season. But sharp-eared listeners recognized the iconic tambre of Drag Race legend Shangela in the opening of “NASA,” the bouncy third track off of Grande’s Thank U, Next where the queen revamps Neil Armstrong’s iconic “one small step for man” speech. In an interview for Billboard, Shangela herself revealed that the collaboration came from a brief interaction with Grande, where the singer’s gay half-brother Frankie Grande introduced the two. After hearing Shangela’s short vamp, Grande apparently pulled out her phone, recorded the star’s speech and tacked it on to the opening of her track.