Since her Pharrell-produced album Sweetener and chart-topping surprise single "thank u, next," Ariana Grande has enjoyed one of the most successful pop star rebrands of the last several years, attracting a new fanbase that admires her vulnerable yet empowered new approach.
But some listeners are starting to side-eye the singer as she edges into cultural-appropriation territory. The latest criticism comes for Grande's new single and music video for "7 Rings," including the catchy refrain "You like my hair? / Gee thanks, just bought it," which she raps in a staccato flow reminiscent of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag."
Ostensibly referring to Grande's famously long ponytail extensions, the lyrics also sound strikingly similar to the hook of Princess Nokia's track "Mine," an outspoken celebration of wigs, weaves, extensions, afros and other various ways black and brown women choose to wear their hair. In the vein of Solange's "Don't Touch My Hair," Nokia tells white onlookers that how she chooses to style herself is her business and her business only. "It's mine, I bought it / It's mine, I bought it," Nokia rhymes over a pop trap beat not unlike that of Grande's "7 Rings."
"Ain’t that the little song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmm. Sounds about white," Princess Nokia said in a Twitter video of herself listening to the songs side by side.