Ariana Grande’s music video for her song “Thank U, Next” was so hyped that 450,000 people were watching the countdown to the launch on Friday, Nov. 30. The video for the song—a break-up track that is a tribute to self-love—is an homage to teenage romantic comedies such as Mean Girls and Bring it On and choc-full of sentimental cameos (… plus Kris Jenner).
What it also includes is a not-so-subtle political message.
In Grande’s interpretation of the hit 2001 movie Legally Blonde, the singer poses as Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods, who was known for defying stereotypes of the ditzy blonde. Lounging outside in Elle’s signature pink, Grande sings to the camera while holding a massive textbook: Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy, a casebook used in many US law schools. Stacked next to her are other legal texts, American Law and Search and Seizure.
According to a description of the edition Grande is studying in the video, the immigration book includes references to DACA (the Obama-era immigration policy that defers deportation for people who came to the US illegally as children), asylum issues, and a “new section on vulnerable children.”
The textbook choice was not a coincidence. Grande’s mother confirmed on Twitter that this was a pointed political message aimed at Donald Trump, whose immigration policies, including the separation of families at the US-Mexico border, have been widely panned.