Ariana Grande’s new song and music video ‘Boyfriend’ is genuinely incredible for many reasons. It’s fun, sweet, violent yet VERY naughty. Ariana’s new single with the duo Social House (Mike/Mikey Foster and Scootie Anderson) is very special for all vitiligo fighters as well who have been craving to get represented in mainstream music videos for far too long.
Even though the king of pop- Michael Jackson had vitiligo, up until his death nobody associated his work with vitiligo. He did nothing during his lifetime to normalize vitiligo as he hid the skin condition in all stage performances and music videos. After years, a few music artists (Krizz Kaliko, Marcus Haran, and Swrap) appeared in music videos without masking their vitiligo. But, these videos didn’t reach a wider audience. Winnie Harlow, not an unknown name in the world of fashion modeling, got featured in Eminem’s Guts Over Fear. But, again, the screen time she had in this video was quite short. It clearly didn’t have any impact on society’s perception of vitiligo. A song by Thirty Seconds to Mars (Rescue Me) too featured a boy with vitiligo. But, it was more like a cameo that many people missed.
However, Ariana’s Boyfriend represents vitiligo in a very different light. It shows a vitiligan as normal as anybody else. The male protagonist, shown in the video, just happens to have vitiligo. Nobody in the video, including Ariana, is making any big deal about it. Isn’t that something we all crave in our daily lives – to be treated like anybody else? Boyfriend is a refreshing take on representation of vitiligo – it considers vitiligo as a thing one should not even pay attention to. In fact, it showcases a person with vitiligo (played by Mikey Foster) as an object of desire. How progressive is that!
Boyfriend is all about crushing on someone you are not dating, but don’t want anyone else to date either. Now, this “someone” could be anyone – an individual with or without vitiligo. Ariana, who has co-written the song with Social House, explained the theme of the song via a tweet – “I feel like this song captures a common theme in the lives of so many people I know! People want to feel love but don’t want to define their relationship, even though they want to.”
Well, we can only thank Ariana and her team for Boyfriend, which doesn’t look like an inclusivity initiative (despite being one). And, that’s the beauty of it.