By Ja'el Bryant
Winner, Critical Essay, 2021 VSU Student Writing Contest
“I feel it after midnight. A feeling that you can’t fight. My one, it lingers when we’re done.
You’ll believe God is a woman.”
The song “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande expresses not only her own sexual liberation with a lover, but further explores the power that the human woman has on the world; and what that power truly holds as well as what it signifies. The track; produced by her frequent collaborator Ilya Salmanzadeh, who has also produced some of her other hits as well including “Side to Side” and “No Tears Left to Cry”, was originally a song that was going to be with a rapper, but Grande soon realized that her intentions had something else planned. In fact, it was such a fortuity, that at the time that she had first listened to the hook given to her, that the album was already done. The video however; directed by Dave Meyers, with a cameo of Madonna’s voice also featured in the video. The four minute and one second video first begins with Ariana Grande—literally--- on top of the world; then quickly cuts to her nakedly laying a pool of what seems to be acrylic paints. The camera then cuts again to her in the bed with various naked men that are kind of moving around in a soap-filled bed, but Grande is not actually in the bed with these men but somehow godlessly higher above the men. The visual then moves along to the next scene and setting which features a larger Ariana Grande sitting on what seems to be a rock that on top of a book while she stares with her legs crossed and on top of each other as middle -aged white men who are the size of bugs compared to her are physically throw vulgar and dehumanizing words at her that don’t necessarily “stick” to her but continuously bounce off of her face and body. The music video repeatedly continues to show other various godlessly and very much natural and earthly visuals. Grande dances in a candle flame, her sitting on the earth—using her fingers to change the clouds—and finally my favorite part of the videos where there are various beavers in what looks to be deserted land with cracks in the ground as they scream. I think that the message of this video is that women are essentially the “Gods” of the earth and that they hold all the power. It also demonstrates what that power can do, as well as provides a visual example of how all women should be show and perceived as. The video for ‘God is a woman” tells this through three various visual elements including the words chosen in her lyrics of the video, the constant changing of different intricate and well-developed scenes, as well as the special effects that does a great job at emphasizing her movements and bigger ideas within the visual and bringing it more to life.
Ariana Grande uses her lyrics to seamlessly talk to her lover about all the things that she is capable of. The artist makes sure to leave it to the listeners discretion on what exactly she’s capable of. Her chorus states repeatedly within the song that after his time with her, he will feel uplifted to say the slightest. She sings,
“And I, I feel it after midnight. A feeling that you can’t fight. My one, when all is said and done, you’ll believe God is a xwoman...”
She expresses not only her sexual intentions with her lover, but her exponential weight that she holds as a woman. She expresses what with just one night, he’ll believe that a higher power that has been known to man since the creation of life; who the world sees as our “Hero” or “Savior” or “God” will now that see that figure—God-- as a woman.
There are various different earthly, and Godly scenes featured within the video. For example, one of my favorite scenes within the visual is Grande standing in the flame of a candle. The fire on the candle is lit, and Grande is seen dancing in the flame as she says,
“you, you love it how I move, you, you love it how I touch you. My one, when all is said and done, you’ll believe God is a woman”
Which happens to be ironic seeing is how she’s “moving” in a flame that is behind clouds in the middle of the sky which references the heavens… angels…. and of course, God.
The music videos special effects team did a very great job at conveying the story exactly how Grande what the story to be shown. In one of my favorite scenes. There is a scene where bears pop out of the ground in what is set to be the location of a deserted island. They seem to have been minding their own business and once the camera sets, they stop from digging, and all of a sudden, you’re hearing various different screams. Representing the frustration and challenges of a female woman not being heard until it’s too late and then seen at “too loud”; being seen as just a tool for sex for men to use and disadvantage. The mammals screaming indicates women’s true voices to the world. Inferring to the world of not being heard for centuries from time and time again until, yet, it’s too late.
The message of this video is that women are essentially the “Gods” of the earth and that they hold all the power. It also demonstrates what that power can do, as well as provides a visual example of how all women should be show and perceived as. The video for ‘God is a woman” tells this through three various visual elements including the words chosen in her lyrics of the video, the constant changing of different intricate and well-developed scenes, as well as the special effects that does a great job at emphasizing her movements and bigger ideas within the visual and bringing it more to life. Seeing this video as well as listening to the song for first time—as a Christian— like many others might, I was a bit confused. Seeing as how it might look, I had to continuously study the artist’s work until I could fully understand what she exactly she was trying to convey. I at first thought this was very much illuminati, secret society-type vibes, and then I thought it was just about sex, but once I clearly analyzed the video, I then then realized it was nothing at all what the artist wanted to reveal to us. Not that women can control men with their bodies, or manipulate them, or even that God is an actual woman, and she was trying was trying to tell us that the Illuminati s run by Kris Jenner. But that women are temples, and that they deserve to be treated as such. That there would be no such thing as a man without a woman, or even life without women; yet women are the most mistreated, used, and unloved of this world. I believe that Ariana Grande just wanted to show the importance of the woman.
Grande, Ariana. God is Woman Music Video. 13 July 2018
About the Author
Ja'el Bryant is a rising sophomore at Virginia State University, majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in English. Originally from San Francisco, California, Ja'el also throws women's shot put and discus for the VSU Track and Field team. She aspires to be a filmmaker as well as a screen writer that can vividly express her thoughts and stories onto a screen that people can enjoy.