Ariana Grande accuses Forever 21 of stealing her image while designers accuse her of the same

Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for $10 million for allegedly stealing the singer’s likeness for an ad campaign. Grande’s lawyers claim that the company hired a lookalike model and borrowed heavily from her “7 Rings” music video for the campaign. 

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The concepts for the campaign were strikingly similar to the music video in question, with the exact same purple and pink color scheme, as well as the usage of diamonds, glitter and holographic images. There was also a “7” in the background of the photos in the exact same unique font and style as the one used for Grande’s music video. 

 The campaign advertised multiple pieces that resemble the clothes worn in the “7 Rings,” video with the most similar piece being a pom-pom headband draped with rhinestones. 

 According to the lawsuit, Forever 21 attempted to make an endorsement deal with the singer in December 2018. Grande’s lawyers said the deal fell through because the amount that the company was going to pay to use the singer’s likeness and name was “insufficient for an artist of her stature.” After the unsuccessful deal, Forever 21 posted images of Grande on their Instagram and used one of her songs in a promotional video. Grande’s lawyers claim that these instances, as well as the alleged usage of her likeness, was all a part of a ploy to “create the false perception of her endorsement.” 

 The company recently made a statement saying they cannot comment on the ongoing legal matter but are hopeful they will come to a resolution with the singer and her team.  

When the news of the lawsuit broke, drag queen Farrah Moan accused Grande’s stylists of stealing one of her looks for the “7 Rings” video. 

 Farrah said on Twitter that she recently met Grande’s costume designer and found out that a dress she wore on “Rupaul’s Drag Race” was used as inspiration for Grande’s costume in the music video. On social media, Farrah said she only spoke out because she thought it was hypocritical for Grande to be suing others for her likeness while taking such strong inspiration from Farrah, a queer artist. 

 After this, Grande received more accusations of stealing as well as appropriating black culture after the fashion blog “Diet Prada” leaked the mood board used for Grande’s “Sweetener” tour. The mood board was predominately images of black women, most of whom were Rihanna. The mood board also featured images of indie designer Yeha Leung’s bondagewear, which was replicated for Grande’s costumes. 

 Grande’s stylist Law Roach, who created the mood board, responded to these claims by questioning how he could be appropriating black culture if he is black. 

 These instances are not the first times Grande’s artistic directions have come under fire for copying.When the “7 Rings” music video came out, there were accusations that she stole the cadence of the song from rappers Princess Nokia and Soulja Boy. There were also accusations of Grande copying 2 Chainz’ pink trap house aesthetic, but the rapper never personally accused her and later even appeared on the remix of the track. 

 Farrah’s accusation was not the first time Grande was accused of stealing from marginalized groups. Grande was accused of appropriating Japanese culture with her usage of Japanese lettering for aesthetic purposes in the “7 Rings” video. The singer was also accused of cultural appropriation for her overuse of African American slang and “blaccent” that she sometimes uses in songs and interviews.  

 Grande has been known more for her controversies than for her actual music in the past year, and all of these accusations prove this trend may not be slowing down anytime soon. 

Thumbnail photo from abc.net.au


Gladi Suero is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gladi.suero@uconn.edu.